Wyatt on the cusp at Quail Hollow
May 05, 2016
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
- Bobby Wyatt lines up a putt on the 18th green during a continuation of the third round of the Zurich Classic. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – When you lack status on any tour, you have to go wherever the starts come. For Bobby Wyatt, born and bred in Alabama, that meant playing in South Africa earlier this year.
“It was a great opportunity,” Wyatt said. But it also meant learning to drive on the left side of the road, a new experience for him. He admits there were a couple close calls on the roads.
He made the cut in two of three starts there, finishing ninth and T40. Those events were part of a recent schedule that has included Monday qualifiers, Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada Q-School and smaller circuits like the SwingThought and Emerald Coast tours.
“I’ve been busy, just not out here,” Wyatt said, referring to the PGA TOUR.
That has changed quickly.
Bobby Wyatt on fire with another birdie at Zurich
He finished fourth at last week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans, which was shortened to 54 holes and finished on Monday because of inclement weather. His top-10 finish at TPC Louisiana earned him a start at this week’s Wells Fargo Championship, where he shot a first-round 70.
He can now expect to fill his schedule with PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour starts instead of returning to the mini-tours.
“I’m in a lot better position,” Wyatt said. He also played in this season’s RSM Classic, finishing 75th. He has 136 FedExCup points, needing 225 more points to earn special temporary membership, which would allow him to accept unlimited sponsor exemptions for the remainder of the season. Until he hits that threshold, he can use five more sponsor exemptions.
Wyatt’s sterling amateur resume from his days at the University of Alabama, where he was teammates with Justin Thomas, were one reason he was invited to last week’s tournament in New Orleans. Events like to give opportunities to young players with big potential.
Wyatt helped the Crimson Tide to back-to-back NCAA titles (2013, ’14). He represented the United States at the 2013 Walker Cup and won the 2014 SEC Championship after shooting 61 at Sea Island’s Seaside Course.
That wasn’t Wyatt’s lowest score, though. He shot 15-under 57 in his win at the 2010 Alabama State Junior. He didn’t shoot that number on some pitch-and-putt. The Country Club of Mobile played 6,628 yards that day.
In competitive golf, it’s not just about the number of the scorecard, but also its context. That’s why Wyatt said Monday’s final-round 64 in New Orleans “was a little more meaningful for me.” That round vaulted him 13 spots on the leaderboard, earned him a spot in this week’s event and should translate into Web.com Tour status at worst for next season.
“It gave me confidence that I could do it under the gun,” said Wyatt, who finished one shot out of a three-man playoff won by Brian Stuard. “It was just awesome. I thought I handled it pretty well, made a couple mistakes but overall I was pleased.”
Wyatt made eight birdies, an eagle and two bogeys Monday. The bogeys, on Nos. 14 and 15, were three-putts from approximately 40 feet. He birdied Nos. 16 and 18, though.
Wyatt will earn his card for the 2016-17 season if he can earn more points than No. 125 on the season-ending FedExCup standings. His T4 should be enough to earn him a spot in the Web.com Tour Finals, which are open to the top 200 on the FedExCup standings.
The only downside of his success is that it may have crashed his cell phone. He was he had 52 text messages when he turned his phone on after Monday’s round, but it failed to work after that.
“I feel terrible not responding to anybody,” Wyatt said.
Don’t worry. They’ll understand.
Bobby Wyatt finishes with birdie at Zurich