Fritsch, Slocum falter in FedExCup Playoffs quest
August 17, 2014
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
- Brad Fritsch's final-round 70 dropped him from second to eighth in the Wyndham Championship. (Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Sang-Moon Bae clenched his fist after making his 8-foot birdie putt on the Wyndham Championship's final hole. He had reason to celebrate, having clinched his spot in the FedExCup Playoffs.
That celebration was overshadowed by plenty of heartbreak later in the day. The Wyndham Championship is the final tournament before the FedExCup Playoffs. Players are competing for more than a postseason berth. Many also are trying to retain their playing privileges for the 2014-15 season. Those circumstances set the stage for plenty of drama.
The most spirited rallies fell short Sunday, though. Heath Slocum, who started the week at No. 158 in the FedExCup, had a 48-foot birdie putt on the final hole to tie Wyndham winner Camilo Villegas. Slocum ran it 6 feet past the hole, then missed the next one. The three-putt cost him his PGA TOUR card.
Brad Fritsch began the week at No. 163 in the FedExCup and was in Sunday’s final group, one shot off the lead, but could only manage two birdies Sunday as he dropped to eighth place and out of the top 125.
Bae started the week at 126th in the FedExCup and was projected to move inside the top 125 before Sunday began. His final-round 66 -- including a 4-under 31 -- on his final nine holes only cemented a seemingly certain FedExCup Playoffs spot and earned valuable points before the final four events begin.
"I have to play good again next week," Bae said. "I want to play four more events this year."
The top 125 in the FedExCup after the Wyndham Championship qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs. The top 125 in either the FedExCup or money list retain playing privileges for 2014-15.
Bae already was exempt for next season by virtue of his win at the 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship. Slocum and Fritsch needed to finish in the top 125 to keep their cards. They're both headed to the Web.com Tour Finals after falling short Sunday. Each player earned his card for the 2013-14 season via last year's Web.com Tour Finals.
Slocum bogeyed his final two holes Sunday to fall a shot short. He stubbed his chip on No. 17 before three-putting the 18th.
"It was a situation where you (have) a chance to maybe win a golf tournament. I hit it too hard obviously, but I was trying to make sure I got it there," Slocum said. "I'm obviously terribly disappointed. I felt like I had a great opportunity but at the same time I played great."
Fritsch was three shots short of keeping his card. He said he felt uncomfortable as he played in the final group in pursuit of his first PGA TOUR title. Martin Laird needed a birdie at the final hole to crack the FedExCup's top 125 and return to Ridgewood, where he lost a playoff to Matt Kuchar in 2010. Laird hit his approach shot into a bunker, and his bogey kept him from making the FedExCup Playoffs. The disappointment was evident on his face as he made his way to the scoring trailer Sunday.
There's always plenty of drama when FedExCup Playoffs spots and PGA TOUR cards are on the line. Sunday was no exception.
HOW FEDEXCUP'S BUBBLE BOYS FARED FedExCup entering Wyndham Wyndham finish FedExCup after Wyndham Change Money list 122. Robert Allenby MC 125 -3 145 123. Nicholas Thompson T70 126 -3 123 124. Jhonattan Vegas T8 108 +16 120 125. Paul Casey T18 118 +7 111 126. Sang-Moon Bae* T14 120 +6 122 127. Charlie Beljan MC 130 -3 124 128. Greg Chalmers MC 132 -4 139 129. David Lingmerth T74 134 -5 127 130. J.J. Henry T32 128 +2 143 131. Ben Curtis T47 131 0 130 132. Jonathan Byrd MC 136 -4 133 133. Richard H. Lee MC 138 -5 131 134. Mike Weir MC 139 -5 104 135. Brian Gay* MC 140 -5 136 * -- exempt for 2014-15 by virtue of victory in 2013; FedExCup's top 125 qualify for FedExCup Playoffs; top 125 in either FedExCup or money list retain playing privileges; finishes in top 125 in bold and italics.
Jhonattan Vegas started Wyndham week in the top 125 in the FedExCup standings, but only by a slim margin. He was No. 124 and still needed to play well to secure his spot in the FedExCup Playoffs. He finished T8 for his second top-10 of the season and second top-10 in his past four starts. He moved from 124th to 108th in the FedExCup.
"There's always more pressure when you're 124 and you have the last tournament to play," Vegas said. "I feel good that I performed (under) that kind of pressure and it was a fun week."
Vegas, who turns 30 on Tuesday, wasn't just trying to secure his position in the FedExCup Playoffs. He also had to finish in the top 125 to retain his playing privileges for 2014-15.
Vegas, winner of the 2011 Humana Challenge, was No. 154 in the FedExCup before finishing third in last month's John Deere Classic. He missed his next two cuts, but then shot 13-under 267 at Sedgefield Country Club to clinch his first FedExCup Playoffs appearance since 2011.
PGA TOUR rookie Kevin Foley missed a 4-foot par putt on the Wyndham Championship's final hole. The miss cost him a spot in the Web.com Tour Finals, the four-event series where players can try to earn their TOUR cards for the 2014-15 season.
Foley finished 201st in the FedExCup. Doug LaBelle II, who finished 38th at the Wyndham, moved from 215th to 200th. Nos. 126-200 in the FedExCup compete in the Web.com Tour Finals. Foley has to return to Web.com Tour Q-School.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” LaBelle said. “If not, you have no way of getting back (on the PGA TOUR) unless you go play a full year on the Web.com Tour.”
The Web.com Tour Finals give players an opportunity to be back on TOUR in just two months.
David Duval, who missed the Wyndham cut by one shot in spite of shooting 4 under par on Friday’s final nine holes, finished 202nd in the FedExCup standings. Patrick Rodgers, the 2014 collegiate player of the year at Stanford, is eligible for the Web.com Tour Finals after earning 85 FedExCup points since turning pro in June. He is eligible for the Finals because his FedExCup points exceeded No. 200 on the list.
Jason Allred started the season without any PGA TOUR status, but had an opportunity to earn his PGA TOUR card Sunday. He started the Wyndham’s final round in 18th place, needing to finish approximately 14th to finish better than No. 125 on the money list. Allred struggled to a 3-over 73 that dropped him to T47, though.
He made birdie on the third hole, but made quadruple bogey on the next hole after hitting two tee shots out-of-bounds. He rebounded with an eagle at the par-5 fifth hole to return to 1 over for the day, but played the final 13 holes in 2 over par.
“It’s nobody’s fault but my own. I just didn’t perform like I know I can,” Allred said. “I’m certainly disappointed. I’m sure I’ll be more disappointed as it sinks in a little bit. With that said, I can promise you I gave my whole heart on every shot. It doesn’t mean they were good. There were some really bad ones, actually. I hope so much I can learn from today because I want to be back out here so bad, and hopefully sooner than later.”
Allred finished third in the Northern Trust Open after Monday qualifying and sixth at the Barracuda Championship. He is eligible for the Web.com Tour Finals.
Five players at the Wyndham Championship who had never missed the FedExCup Playoffs started the week outside the top 125 in the FedExCup standings. None of them cracked the top 125 in the final week before the FedExCup Playoffs. Brian Gay (140), J.J. Henry (128), John Merrick (133), John Rollins (164) and Charlie Wi (149) will miss the FedExCup Playoffs for the first time.
Four players who finished outside the top 125 in the FedExCup standings will retain playing privileges for 2014-15 by finishing in the top 125 on the money list: Nicholas Thompson, Jim Renner, Mike Weir and Charlie Beljan.
ON THE LINE FedExCup entering Wyndham Wyndham position Score FEC after Wyndham Change ENTERED TOP 125 126. Sang-Moon Bae T14 69-68-66-66 120 +6 EXITED TOP 125 123. Nicholas Thompson T70 70-68-73-69 126 -3 ENTERED TOP 200 215. Doug LaBelle II T38 72-65-66-70 200 +15 EXITED TOP 200 200. David Duval MC 70-69 202 -2