Geoff Ogilvy, Matt Jones and Cameron Percy find themselves in the hot seat at this week’s Wyndham Championship as the PGA TOUR’s Australasian contingent prepares for the final full field event of the season.
The FedEx Cup standings will be finalised Sunday night and the equation is simple: be inside the top 125 or find another way to the PGA TOUR for 2018.
Ogilvy holds the uncomfortable position of ‘bubble boy’ heading into the week in 125th position while Percy and Jones are both outside the number at 140 and 149 respectively.
A total of 12 Australasians tee up this week with a range of goals, some trying to secure a place in the upcoming Web.com Finals Series while others simply look to end the season on a high note.
Stuart Appleby, Steven Bowditch, Ryan Ruffels, Aaron Baddeley, Cameron Smith, Greg Chalmers, Brett Drewitt and New Zealanders Steve Alker and Tim Wilkinson join Ogilvy, Jones and Percy at Sedgefield Country Club in South Carolina.
With the trio teetering on the edge of qualifying for next year’s TOUR a tense week awaits, making the cut the first goal for all before attempting a charge at the weekend.
Sunday’s final round is always a nerve wracking one for players near the bubble as positions on the FedEx Cup table change with each group that completes play.
With no specific target set the goal for all I simply to finish as high up in the field as possible, a win of course taking eliminating any concerns about playing status for the next two years.
While Ogilvy, Percy and Jones play for the major prizes there is a secondary, equally important tournament at play for many of the remaining Australasians.
For those unable to make the top 125 the task becomes finishing between 126 and 200, those 75 players eligible for the Web.com Finals Series next month.
The four tournament Finals Series will see those players join the top 75 from the secondary Tour and play four tournaments to decide 25 cards for the 2018 season.
Brett Drewitt (193), Stuart Appleby (189), Steve Alker (183) and Tim Wilkinson (165) will all be keen to maintain their places in this group while Steven Bowditch, at 226 on the list, will need something special to play his way in.
Bowditch’s exemption for his 2015 win at the Byron Nelson tournament expires this week and after a year in the doldrums his future appears uncertain.
Greg Chalmers (169) and Aaron Baddeley (133) are both outside the 125 but having won in 2016 year both are guaranteed privileges for next year.
Ryan Ruffels plays this week on a sponsor’s invitation and will also be trying to earn a start at the Web.com Finals Series.
As a non-member of the PGA TOUR Ruffels needs to amass enough FedEx Cup points to equal or better the player at 200th on the list and as things stand before the week starts he is 48 points behind.
He will likely need more than that to achieve his goal, a top 15 finish at minimum seemingly required.
After a brilliant start but disappointing finish at the Canadian Open three weeks ago Ruffels will be aiming higher than simply top 15, however, the teenager already proving he has all the tools necessary to contend and win at this level.
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