Last week Geoff Ogilvy was the ‘Bubble Boy’ at the final full field event of the season and he has more work to do at the Northern Trust tournament in New York.
100 is the magic number to advance to the second of the playoff events, the Dell Technologies Championship in Boston, and Ogilvy is the only Australian outside the number starting the week.
Six Australasians take their place at Glen Oaks Country Club this week, Marc Leishman, Jason Day, Cameron Smith, Rod Pampling and Danny Lee joining Ogilvy as all try to play their way to the season ending Tour Championship reserved for the top 30.
Leishman, 14th in the standings, is almost certain to be at East Lake but Smith (40th), Day (49th), Lee (56th) and Pampling (70th) have work to do.
With Glen Oaks hosting its first PGA TOUR event the course is an unknown quantity and as such none of the players have any advantage through local knowledge or previous experience.
That being the case, current form will be the only guide and in that department it is Queensland’s Smith who will be the man to watch.
After a lull in form following his first PGA TOUR victory at the Zurich teams event in April, Smith rebuilt his game with coach Grant Field ahead of last week’s Wyndham Championship and the work paid dividends.
Bookend rounds of 7-under 63 saw Smith into the top 10, a significant achievement after a run of five missed cuts in his six previous starts, and he won’t be short of confidence ahead of his first career play-off appearance.
Ogilvy was next best behind Smith last week and he, too, showed more than a glimpse of his best form under the do-or-die pressure of keeping his full card.
The 2006 US Open winner was sparked by the urgency of the situation and after putting himself behind the eight ball with an even par first round came out firing with rounds of 66-66-67.
His Sunday effort included a 6-under 29 on the front nine and he will need to maintain that sort of form if he is to play his way from 116th to the top 100 and a berth next week.
There is less pressure on those inside the top 50 but Day, Leishman and Lee will all be keen to get their play-off campaign off on the right foot.
Day’s last appearance at the PGA produced a T9 result and his game in recent weeks has been edging closer to what was on display at the end of 2015 when he won this event in its previous incarnation, The Barclays.
No doubt still smarting from a Saturday afternoon meltdown at the 18th hole at Quail Hollow, Day will be especially motivated this week as he faces the prospect of finishing the year without a victory.
Lee’s form is less easy to read, the popular New Zealander missing the cut in each of his last two events in a season that has produced only four top 10 finishes.
At 56th on the standings his year has been far from poor but has also featured few highlights, his poor Strokes Gained Around the Green percentage likely chief among the causes.
For Leishman the week is really about setting up his run to East Lake as he is high enough on the standings to all but assure he will advance to the final event.
With just two missed cuts dating back to October last year the laid back Victorian has been a model of consistency in 2017 and has all the tools to be a genuine contender for the $10 million first prize in four weeks’ time.
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