KORN FERRY TOUR FINALS
Twenty-five PGA TOUR cards secured, plenty left to play for in Web.com Tour Finals
August 24, 2014
By Anne Detlefsen, PGATOUR.COM
- August 24, 2014
- Carlos Ortiz will enter the Finals No. 1 on the money list. (Steve Dykes/Getty Images
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Tony Finau exited the scoring trailer Sunday at the WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft and embraced several members of his close-knit family with tears streaming down his face. He'd shot a not-so-great 73, but it mattered little as he finished eighth on the Web.com Tour money list to lock up his PGA TOUR card for the 2014-2015 season.
"This is definitely one of the days it's necessary to celebrate," Finau said.
The first 25 of 50 PGA TOUR cards for the 2014-2015 season were awarded after the final putt dropped in Portland. The top 75 on the money list also secured their spots in the upcoming Web.com Tour Finals, where another 25 cards are available.
With all of that on the line, emotions were running high just off the 18th green. Some players were greeted with hugs and high fives as they exited the course, while others anxiously asked where they stood on the projected money list.
"Am I in?" said James Nitties to a friend.
Nitties began the week 97th on the money list and was fighting to move inside the top 75. He had found trouble off the tee on the final hole, but rolled in a gutsy 15-footer for bogey.
"I looked at the scoreboard [on 18] because it's hard to miss it and I realized if I didn't get up-and-down then I'd have no chance," he said. "I made it really hard for myself."
Last year, Nitties finished a gut-wrenching 76th on the money list to just miss the Web.com Tour Finals.
"It's huge," he said. "It's been a pretty tough year. I feel like I've been so close but I haven't been able to get anything going. To actually get it done and hopefully get through is pretty big for me. It would have been heartbreaking to end doubling the last, considering I've been the 76th guy before and 26th before."
Whee Kim also moved inside the top 75 after he finished in a tie for 26th, while Zack Fischer and Roberto Diaz dropped out. Bubble boy Sebastian Cappelen missed the cut in Portland, and was the only player to fall out of the top 25. Kyle Reifers finish T21 at the tournament to move into the 25th spot on the money list.
The top 75 on the Web.com Tour money list will join Nos. 126-200 in the FedExCup standings in the Web.com Tour Finals, which begin next week at the Hotel Fitness Championship in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Finals have one change from last year: players from the Web.com Tour will carry their money into the Finals, and will be placed in the priority ranking based off their combined money from the Regular Season and Finals.
"Now it's all about pecking order and trying to get some good finishes in the Finals," said Byron Smith who finished 21st on the money list.
No. 1 Carlos Ortiz earned fully-exempt status with his third win of the season at the WinCo Foods Portland Open, but intends to play in the Finals to try to add THE PLAYERS Championship to his schedule. The No. 1 player at the conclusion of the Finals will also earn fully-exempt status and a spot in THE PLAYERS. But Ortiz will have plenty of competition for that top spot.
"I'd like to get to No. 1 and I think if you're a top 10 player at the end of the season, it's an attainable goal," said Finau. "I'm not going to shy away from that statement. I'd like to be No. 1 because that locks up your whole year and you can plan your schedule out. I'll be ready for the challenge."
No. 5 on the money list Justin Thomas acknowledged "it'll be tough to catch [Ortiz]," but his goal over the final four events is do just that.
"I'm 100% trying to get to No. 1," he said.
But that’s next week.
For now, there’s plenty to celebrate as the first 25 look forward to the PGA TOUR next year.
“It's going to be unbelievable,” said Smith.