Michael Allen, 51, withdrew Thursday after a 76 in which he took 31 putts.
Allen is 123rd on the money list and will have one more event in which to earn a TOUR card for the 2011 season. He finished 110th on the money list in 2009.
To call this season a career year for Bill Haas would be an understatement. Earlier this season, Haas won for the first time in his career and on Sunday he won again, joining a handful of players with multiple wins on the PGA TOUR this season.
Haas’ first victory came in a playoff. This time, there was no need for extra holes, only drama. Haas led by as many as four shots Sunday before seeing that lead disappear. He eventually won by three, however, shooting a final-round 72 that included two birdies over his final three holes.
For Michael Allen, this week was just another almost. Allen, who closed with a 71 to finish second, has now made 357 career starts on the PGA TOUR and hasn’t won any of them. It was the 16th time in his career that he’s finished in the top 10.
What an up-and-down day it continues to be for Bill Haas, who now leads by two after having what was once a four-shot lead wiped out.
Haas is back on top because of a costly double bogey on the par-4 13th by Michael Allen, who hit his tee shot out of bounds to the left. Haas, meanwhile, birdied the hole, actually extending his lead to three shots before giving one back with a bogeon the very next hole.
So much for that. What was once a four-shot lead for Bill Haas is now gone thanks to Michael Allen playing a bogey-free round that’s included three birdies through his first 12 holes – the latest of which came on the par-5 11th to get to 14 under and even with Haas.
Allen’s been very good off the tee and with his ball-striking, hitting at least 70 percent of both his fairways and greens in regulation. Allen now has six birdies, by the way, over his last 21 holes.
And remember, only 16 54-hole leaders or co-leaders (about 30 percent) have actually gone on to win this year on TOUR. That matches the lowest total in three years.
The two players that stand to gain the most right now even if neither one of them wins today? Chris Stroud and Michael Allen.
Stroud began his week 125th on the money list … and squarely on the bubble to retain his PGA TOUR card for next season. If the tournament were to end right now and Stroud were to tie for second, he’d move to 93rd and, for all intents and purposes, lock up that card for next year.
Allen, meanwhile, stands to jump 39 spots if he ties for second, which would put him at No. 127. That’s obviously not inside the magic number, but the 51-year-old would be in much better shape should he choose to play on TOUR next season.
To track the projected money list live, click here .
At 51 years old, Michael Allen could have chosen to simply play the Champions Tour this season. But he still thinks he can win on the PGA TOUR, no matter how many starts it takes.
“That's what we're out here for,” said Allen, who shot 70 on Saturday and will play in the final pairing Sunday with Bill Haas, who he trails by four. “It's going to be a fun day tomorrow. That's why we play, to have fun out here.”
What else would explain why Allen is still out here after 357 career starts -- all without a victory.
Allen will obviously have his work cut out for him. Not only is his own personal history against him, but Haas has made just two bogeys all week. Still, Allen remains eternally optimistic.
“Anything can happen out here,” Allen said. “Make two or three birdies early, kind of get things going, maybe I can put some pressure on him and have a chance to get back in there tomorrow.”
We’ll find out. -- Brian Wacker
With Michael Allen near the lead – and his aforementioned 356 tournaments without a victory – you might think he’s near the top of the list in terms of active players without a victory on the PGA TOUR. Actually, he’s got a ways to go. Here’s the current list:
|Player||Number of starts without a win|
If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. Or try 357 times, which is how many career starts Michael Allen has made on the PGA TOUR without a victory.
The 51-year-old could have disappeared to the Champions Tour this season, but he still has status on TOUR after finishing 110th on last year’s money list. Friday, he put himself in position to go after that elusive first victory with a 66 that leaves him three shots off the clubhouse lead.
Still, Allen has just one top-10 in 13 starts on TOUR this season. So why not just stick with one or the other?
“Because really I have options,” said Allen, who has five top-10s in 12 starts on the Champions Tour. “I came out this year, and I really tried to play this TOUR full‑time and really get my card, and I got off to a great start on the West Coast. But once I hit the middle of the season, my favorite part of the season, TPC, Quail Hollow, all those nice tournaments, AT&T. I didn't play well, missed a lot of cuts. So I went over to the Senior Tour and tried to make sure I got my card there because I didn't want to be 62 years old out four‑spotting again.”
Ranked 166th on the money list coming into the week, Allen obviously has some work to do during the Fall Series if he wants to secure his card by finishing in the top 125. Not that he doesn’t think he can.
“I've never won out here, but I've always believed I do [have the talent to],” Allen said. “That's one of the main reasons I play. I'd love to win out here. I play to make a living. I love doing what I'm doing out here. This is a great challenge. This could be a fun weekend, I hope.” – Brian Wacker