Jhonattan Vegas shoots an 8-under 63 to tie William McGirt for the overnight lead.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
NORTON, Mass. -- Just like he's done the past two weeks, William McGirt enters this week's tournament fighting for his Playoffs life. But he's also fighting another battle -- to keep his PGA TOUR card for next year.
It's a battle that may also require him to play a full schedule in the Fall Series.
According to PGA TOUR officials here, McGirt is the only player in the 99-man field in the Deutsche Bank Championship who is on the outside of the current top 125 on the money list and does not yet have fully exempt status for 2012.
McGirt ranks 96th in FedExCup points but 141st on the money list. Unless he climbs into the top 125 by the end of the season, he will not have fully exempt status after the fall.
"I'm probably going to have to make another $300,000, $400,000 to keep my card," McGirt said Wednesday. "But the good news is, a good week this week and we keep moving on."
McGirt is approximately $160,000 behind current No. 125 David Mathis. The top 125 on the money list at the end of the year earn their cards for 2012.
Mathis, however, did not make the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. McGirt did, using a clutch performance to claim the last spot after the Wyndham Championship. He then advanced to the Deutsche Bank with a tie for 24th last week at The Barclays, his best result in his last 20 starts on TOUR.
In terms of the money list, McGirt was 158th after Wyndham but moved up to 141st after The Barclays. So while others in his same situation must wait until the Fall Series to start earning money again, McGirt has an unique opportunity to make up significant ground now, thanks to the chase for the FedExCup.
"But I'm not looking at is as I have to get it done right now," McGirt said. "I've got four fall finish events. There's plenty of opportunities left to lock up my card.
"And I think if you start putting pressure on yourself to get it done this week, that I have to make this much money, I think you're only setting yourself up for failure.
"If you're going out there trying to win golf tournaments, things will take care of themselves if you play well."
McGirt, who earned status this year thanks to his tie for second at last year's q-school (and may have to try q-school again if he doesn’t climb inside the top 125), is enjoying the ride right now. His performance the last couple of weeks have made him sort of a Cinderella story, the longshot who keeps playing well enough to stay alive.
"Obviously I want to play well," McGirt said. "I want to stay out here, but I've tried to make it fun, enjoy what we're doing, find things to do on the road, stuff that we would never do without being in this situation, being on TOUR and being in these tournaments. My wife and I have had a blast.
"We started the year and said, whether or not I keep my card, we're going to have fun, but I'm going to give it everything that I have. If I keep my card, great; if I don't, I'll walk away at the end of this year knowing that I gave it everything that I have and that I thoroughly enjoyed this year."
|1||Dustin Johnson||19||Picked a great time to get his first win since last year's Playoffs|
|2||Matt Kuchar||12||Another strong Barclays makes Kuchar a FedExCup threat again|
|3||Nick Watney||1||Didn't hurt himself with a Sunday 64 and a T10 finish.|
|4||Webb Simpson||3||Carried momentum from Wyndham win to T10 at Plainfield|
|5||Luke Donald||4||Started slowly but good weekend moved him ahead of Stricker|
EDISON, N.J. -- Getting there may be a challenge with Hurricane Irene rumbling up the East Coast.
But eight players punched their ticket to TPC Boston on Saturday at The Barclays when they moved into the top 100 in the FedExCup standings.
Camilo Villegas made the biggest move -- jumping 58 spots to 51st when he tied for sixth at Plainfield Country Club. Chris Stroud moved up 31 spots, Ian Poulter 36, Padraig Harrington 44, Bill Lunde 18, William McGirt 29, John Merrick 6 and Ernie Els 19 to No. 99.
Poulter and McGirt had two of the biggest challenges in the final round. The colorful Brit birdied four of his last five holes on Saturday to seal the deal while McGirt, who was the last man to make the field for the first event in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, clocked in at No. 101 until he made a birdie on the 17th hole.
Falling out of the top 100 were Bryce Molder, Hunter Haas, Chris DiMarco, Paul Goydos, Nick o'Hern, Matt Bettencourt, Tim Herron and Michael Bradley. Of that group only Molder made the cut and his closing 70 and tie for 65th simply wasn't enough.
EDISON, N.J. -- The last two players in the field for The Barclays have positioned themselves for what could turn out to be a long run in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
Padraig Harrington, who moved from 130th to 124th last week at the Wyndham Championship, has just finished off a round of 67. That left him at 10 under for the tournament and in pursuit of his first PGA TOUR win since he won the last two majors in 2008.
Harrington is now projected at No. 48 in the FedExCup standings, which gives him a legitimate shot at making it through all four Playoffs events for the third time in his career.
Harrington's playing partner, William McGirt, who was the bubble boy when he came to Plainfield Country Club, has also prospered this week. The PGA TOUR rookie shot 69 on on Friday after opening with a 64. McGirt is projected at No. 62 in the FedExCup.
Harrison Frazar, who held a share of the lead at 7 under overnight, has played eight holes of his second round. He's made four birdies and now stands in sole possession of third at 11 under, three strokes off the pace being set by Matt Kuchar.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
EDISON, N.J. -- He certainly didn't want to, not with the kind of roll he was on. But William McGirt had to leave that 12-footer for birdie on the par-5 12th hole until Friday morning.
The PGA TOUR rookie had just made birdies on seven of his last eight holes. But darkness was settling over Plainfield Country Club and McGirt didn't want to take the chance of missing that putt.
"I wanted to hit it so bad, but just looking at it there was enough of a shadow on the green that I couldn't really read it," McGirt said. "My eyes were seeing one thing and my feet were feeling something else. So I put a mark on it."
If McGirt makes that putt, he'll own sole possession of the lead at The Barclays, a tournament he wasn't sure he was going to get to play in until Sunday afternoon when he climbed two spots to No. 125 in the final regular season FedExCup standings. He left the course on Thursday tied for the lead with Harrison Frazar, who had finished off his 64, and Matt Kuchar, who had two holes remaining.
McGirt, though, will have six more holes to play after he putts out on the 12th. Interestingly, his PGA TOUR career low came last Friday on another Donald Ross course at Sedgefield Country Club where he shot 64 and went on to tie for 52nd at the Wyndham Championship. McGirt, who had some anxious moments on Sunday, eventually edged Justin Leonard by six points for the final playoff spot.
"All in all, everything is going pretty well," McGirt said of his performance Thursday. "I was driving it pretty well, hit my irons pretty well and making some putts. So pretty good combo. Hopefully, I can finish it off in the morning and get another good one in the afternoon."
McGirt holed a 13-footer to save par from the greenside bunker at No. 3, and he said that "jump-started everything" on Thursday. He made a 21-footer for his first birdie at the fourth hole and got up-and-down from the back fringe at the par-5 5th before deadly approaches at Nos. 6 and 7 left him putts of 4 feet and 13 inches.
McGirt got on another run at the ninth hole where he made an 11-footer for birdie. He followed with putts of 4 and 31 feet on the next two holes to move to 7 under before three quality shots set up the 12-footer he'll face at 7:15 a.m. on Friday.
"It's been so long since I've been on a streak like that, I wish I could do it more," McGirt said. "It seemed like today I had a lot of good numbers for shots. Just like last Friday, last Friday it seemed like every shot we walked off was a perfect number.
"Then on Saturday, I don't think I had a good number all day. Everything was dead in-between clubs. You're just trying to rip one or feather on in there. So it's kind of easy to get it going when you're hitting stock shots all day. So hopefully I can continue that tomorrow."