Cabrera Bello, Grillo, Cink crack Top 70
September 04, 2017
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Justin Thomas battles for the win at Dell Technologies
NORTON, Mass. – As an amateur, Rafa Cabrera Bello once played golf near Chicago. But since turning pro in 2011, he’s never played a single round in the Windy City.
That will change with his next start.
Cabrera Bello, ranked 80th entering the week, was one of three players to move inside the top 70 in points and advance to the third leg of the FedExCup Playoffs, the BMW Championship at Conway Farms in two weeks. Thanks to a bogey-free 65, Cabrera Bello moved to 62nd in the standings after his tie for 18th Monday at the Dell Technologies Championship.
Emiliano Grillo and Stewart Cink were the other two bubble-busters moving on to Chicago. Cink, who moved from 81 to 57 with a solo 12th, will make his first start at the BMW since 2010. Grillo, moving from 77 to 62nd with a solo 22nd, will make his second consecutive BMW start; he played last year at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Indiana.
Dropping outside the top 70 and ending their season were Russell Knox, Brandt Snedeker and Kelly Kraft. Only Knox played on Monday, finishing tied for 61st. Kraft withdrew earlier this week and Snedeker has been sidelined with an injury.
Cabrera Bello has spent most of his career on the European Tour, but began splitting time on the PGA TOUR last season. The Spaniard has three top-four finishes on TOUR this season – the last one at The Open Championship. Since then, he’s felt mentally tired, and admits it has impacted his concentration on the course.
Faced with a do-or-die situation with his season this week, Cabrera Bello figured he needed to finish inside the top 35 on the leaderboard to advance.
“I knew this week I needed to step it up,” he said after his 65, which tied Bill Haas for the low round of the day. “It was either play good or go home.” The added pressure, he added, “definitely helped me focus some more.”
Grillo also needed a similar finish and shot 66, overcoming two late bogeys with birdies at 16 and 18 to keep him inside the top 70.
He said he was looking at the projections his entire round Monday.
“I like knowing where I’m at,” said Grillo, the Argentine who’s hoping his performance at TPC Boston is enough to get a Presidents Cup pick from International captain Nick Price. “If I didn’t know, maybe I should have played more aggressive or maybe not. It’s good knowing where you’re at.”
Cink had entered this week having missed two of his last three cuts, but he strung together three consecutive 68s to end the week on a high note. It puts him one step closer to playing the TOUR Championship at East Lake, where he is a member. Cink will be in Atlanta receiving the Payne Stewart Award that week. He’d dearly love to add four rounds to his schedule.
“It’s really satisfying,” Cink said after his top-70 spot was confirmed. “ … I’ve been on the other side of that result a lot of times, too, and it doesn’t feel good at all. It does feel really good to put that together.”
TWAY’S BUNKER SHOT
For a crisp four-hour stroll, Harold Varner and Kevin Tway were side-by-side, playing competitors in the final round of the Dell Technologies Championship. When the 18 holes were done, their divergent paths capsulized the story of these FedExCup Playoffs.
“Great job today. Have fun in Chicago. I tried to join you,” Varner said to Tway, who didn’t need the sentence translated.
Tway, who fired a final-round 5-under 66 to finish in a share of 40th, was going to advance to the BMW Championship. Having entered the week 69th in points, he needed every drop of magic this week to remain inside the top 70 – and oh, how he got it.
There was the bunker shot he holed for birdie at the 71st hole Monday. There were the four par-saves of at least 6 feet in the final seven holes. There was the nail-biting moments late Saturday as he was inside the cut (at 3-over), then outside, then in on the number. Heck, go back to Round 1 on Friday when Tway aced one of the toughest par-3s on TOUR, the 231-yard 11th.
Any of those moments could have gone the other way and Tway would have been eliminated, but as he bid Varner goodbye, he wore a smile.
So, too, did Varner, even though his Playoffs were over. He had birdied seven of the first 10 holes and “I thought I had a chance to be top 20 and (sneak into the BMW Championship), but I choked.” Then, he smiled. “Well, I didn’t choke, but I didn’t do a good job of finishing.”
With bogeys down the stretch at 14, 15 and 16, Varner settled for 4-under 67. Good stuff, just not good enough to sweep him into the top 70. He had come into the week 91st in the FedExCup standings and needed a more than his tie for 47th to advance, but no worries with the young man who wears a perpetual smile.
“Gosh, it was good just being there,” said Varner, who was 138th into the regular-season finale and threw down a T-10 at Wyndham just to get into the Playoffs. He is still proud of that, as he should be, and knocking in seven birdies in 10 holes Monday was another big deal to him.
“I’ve got to keep seeing the positives.”
– By Jim McCabe
18 PLAYERS ELIMINATED
The list of players whose seasons officially ended Monday:
Harold Varner III
Here are the players who moved inside and outside the top 70 following Monday’s final round of the Dell Technologies Championship. The top 70 will advance to the BMW Championship.
MOVING IN MOVING OUT Emiliano Grillo (77 to 62) Kelly Kraft (64 to 72) Rafa Cabrera Bello (80 to 60) Russell Knox (65 to 71) Stewart Cink (81 to 57) Brandt Snedeker (68 to 73)
QUOTE OF THE DAYEvery shot I gained this week is one less shot I need next week.
TOP 5 WATCH
The Top 5 players entering the TOUR Championship will control their own destiny at East Lake. Here’s a look at how the current top 5 fared in the final round of the Dell Technologies Championship.
1. Jordan Spieth (67). Incredible start with an eagle and three birdies, but lost the momentum on the back nine. Solo second at 14 under. Was second.
2. Justin Thomas (66). Key birdies at 13 and 15 allowed him to take control and finish at 17 under. Wins for fifth time this season. Was third.
3. Dustin Johnson (73). Struggled on the front nine with three bogeys and was never a factor in the final round. Tied for 18th at 7 under. Was first.
4. Hideki Matsuyama (66). Had his best round of the week but was never a factor. Tied for 23rd at 5 under. Remained fourth.
5. Jon Rahm (68). Three early birdies had him in position, but shot 2-over during 10-hole stretch in middle of his round. Tied for fourth at 12 under. Remained fifth.