Top spot in Wyndham Rewards on the line in Memphis
July 26, 2019
By Ben Everill , PGATOUR.COM
- Only a handful of players are now in line to win the Wyndham Rewards Top 10. (Ben Jared/PGA TOUR)
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The top spot in the Wyndham Rewards Top 10 will almost certainly be decided this weekend in Memphis at the World Golf Championships – FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
As the commitment list for the regular season ending Wyndham Championship became official Friday afternoon, it became apparent only a handful of players are now in line to finish first on the season long standings.
Current leader Brooks Koepka will battle with Matt Kuchar, Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele for the $2 million bonus.
Koepka, who won the PGA Championship and THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES, started the week 37 points ahead of Kuchar and remains on track to claim top spot as he sits at 5-under in Memphis in a tie for seventh.
“You don't need to play four great days, you just need to play four solid days, and to be right there with nine holes to go is kind of the key,” Koepka said.
“Four, five back, see how it goes. Obviously I need to press a little bit harder tomorrow and see where we're at and get it going.”
Kuchar, who won the Mayakoba Golf Classic and the Sony Open in Hawaii this season, is back in a tie for 33rd at even par and would need to make a significant weekend move past his American rival to have a chance.
McIlroy, THE PLAYERS Championship and RBC Canadian Open winner, is 142 points behind Koepka. He sits in a tie for 13th in Memphis at four under, just five shots off the lead. As such, he is currently the main threat to Koepka’s chase for the crown.
“Hopefully I can make a move on the weekend and finish strong and give myself a chance,” McIlroy said.
Schauffele needs a miracle. He needs to win in Memphis where he currently sits tied for 29th, eight shots back. But he will also need Koepka to slide down the leaderboard and finish somewhere outside the top 20.
Mathematically, Paul Casey, the only player in the current top 10 who will play at the Wyndham Championship, and Gary Woodland could also take top spot.
Casey, who sits 36th in Memphis needs to find a way to win and then win again in Greensboro next week. If he was second outright in one of the two tournaments, coupled with a win, he might also win, but it would need Koepka to bomb out in Memphis.
Speaking of miracles, U.S. Open champion Woodland would need a win this week and a WD from Koepka, plus he’d need Kuchar and McIlroy to be well off the pace.
While top spot in the Wyndham Rewards Top 10 will be decided, some positioning inside the top 10 and those who ultimately stay inside the top 10, will go down to the wire next week.
A total of $10 million bonus money starts at $2 million for top spot and drops all the way to $500,000 for the player in 10th spot. Currently, Jon Rahm sits 10th, but projects to ninth given he sits tied for second in Memphis. Chez Reavie is one player, currently 12th, who can work his way in this week and next.
Also, now to be decided in Memphis is the Aon Risk Reward Challenge. Koepka is in a fight for the $1 million prize with Jason Day and Dustin Johnson on the par-5 16th hole.
The Aon Risk Reward Challenge has seen players on the PGA TOUR (and LPGA Tour) record their best two scores on the designated hole of the week throughout the season and an average to par calculated.
Coming into the week, all three are tied at the top with an average of exactly 1-under par.
Koepka and Day have registered two birdies over the opening two rounds meaning they will maintain their 1-under average at the very worst. Johnson has made two pars and as such is theoretically behind.
It is believed Day holds the advantage on a countback scenario, meaning Koepka now needs to make eagle or better on the hole in one of the final two rounds, and hope Day is unable to do so. Johnson would need at least one birdie and one eagle in his final two rounds to have a chance.