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October 16 2011

10:18 PM

Thompson upbeat after tough finish

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Michael Thompson's third-place finish Sunday at Sea Island secures his TOUR status for 2012.
By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- Michael Thompson won’t be leaving Sea Island with his first career victory, but he won’t be going home empty handed either. The 54-hole leader suffered a bogey on the 72nd hole which left him one shot out of the Ben Crane-Webb Simpson playoff Sunday at Sea Island. His third-place earnings, however, will ensure the rookie and 2010 q-school graduate of a spot on the PGA TOUR next season. “In the big picture, it’s not a bad thing,” Thompson said. “Hey, I get to play next year and that’s a huge accomplishment. Check that off the list, and you never know. I’m playing good and next week, I might have a chance again.” Thompson led by as many as three shots during Sunday’s final round, but a 2-over 37 on the back nine, combined with Ben Crane’s back-nine 30, left the rookie on the outside of the playoff. He was tied with Crane and Simpson, who had both completed their rounds at 15 under, when he stepped onto the 18th tee. Thompson hit a 264-yard drive into a water hazard right of the right fairway bunker, a shot e said was simply a “mental error.” Thompson took his drop and hit a 222-yard approach within 27 feet, still with a chance to get into the playoff. The par putt broke left the cup and Thompson knew he’d missed his chance. “I had a really good chance to win, but that’s all part of the experience,” Thompson said. “I’m right in the same shoes that Webb Simpson was when he first came out on TOUR and look where he is now. You’ve got to go through the disappointing times in order to get to the happy times and success.” Thompson, the 2010 Hooters Tour Player of the Year and former SEC Champion, started the week at No. 116 on the money list and improves to 94th, plenty secure in his TOUR status for 2012.
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