In a remarkable effort, David McKenzie has earned limited status on one of the toughest Tours in the world, the Victorian likely to earn several starts on next year’s PGA Tour Champions in the US.
McKenzie, who turned 50 the week of the Senior Open Championship in July, earned enough money in five starts on the over 50’s circuit to finish in 54th place on the Charles Schwab Cup standings.
With no status on the US senior circuit at the start of the year, McKenzie pre-qualified for four tournaments and managed to play well enough to get inside the top 60 on the Charles Schwab Cup.
That earned him a place in the first three of four play-off events, including this week’s PowerShares QQQ Championship where he finished T29.
While not enough to lift him inside the top 36 who will play in the season finale next week, his play was good enough to remain 54th in the Charles Schwab Cup and as such he will have status next season.
PGA Tour Champions spokesman Chris Richards explained in an email what access McKenzie would gain in 2018.
“The first eligibility category is filled by the top 36 players from the previous year’s standings, down to a floor of 54,” he wrote.
“So the top 36 players are fully exempt, and players 37-54 will get into fields when a top-36 player doesn’t play.
“If a player ranked 37-54 doesn’t get in through this category, they are part of the first fill-the-field category (prioritized by rank).
“To get a feel for how many tournaments the 54th-ranked player might play…Rod Spittle was No. 54 this year, and he played 15 non-majors though he did play on a sponsor’s exemption a few times.”
The popular Australian would have needed to finish third or better this week to gain access to the final event, and a full card for next year, but based on his play in 2017 it would be a surprise not to see him tee up regularly in 2018.
McKenzie posted two top five finishes in his four US based starts and combined with his T9 at the Senior Open in Wales it has proved a potentially career changing year.
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