Chase for top 125 in the FedExCup heats up at 3M Open
July 23, 2021
By Jeff Babineau , PGATOUR.COM
- July 23, 2021
- Chez Reavie followed his opening 66 with a second-round, 4-under 67 to move into contention at the 3M Open. (David Berding/Getty Images)
With the sands to the 2020-21 PGA TOUR season quickly tumbling downward in the hourglass, this is crunch time for those on the bubble in the FedExCup standings. At the 3M Open this week outside Minneapolis, the race to finish in the top 125 to qualify for next month’s FedExCup Playoffs opener at Liberty National (THE NORTHERN TRUST) is very much front and center.
A handful of players on both sides the bubble have arrived at 3M and responded with some of their best golf of the season. With only three weeks remaining in the regular season – which includes next week’s break for The Olympics – count Chez Reavie (119th in the FedExCup standings) among those shining when he most needs to shine. Despite a sloppy bogey-6 at the par-5 18th – a hole he had eagled in the opening round – Reavie followed his opening 66 with a second-round, 4-under 67 to move into contention for the weekend at 3M. He is at 9-under 133.
At one point this season, Reavie, who turns 40 in November, missed 10 cuts in 12 starts. In fact, you have to travel back to 2009 to find a season in which he has had as many weekends off as this one (14). Luckily for him, Reavie, eighth in the FedExCup final standings only two years ago, is experienced enough to know that if he kept his head down and kept working hard, eventually his game would turn for the better. It has. He arrived at 3M having missed only one cut in his last six starts, with top-20 finishes at Congaree and John Deere.
“It was just more annoying than anything else,” Reavie said of his poor play to start the year. “Wasn't playing bad, missed a lot of cuts by a shot and golf seemed really tough at the time. You know, I just kind of fought through it, and here we are playing well. I've played well the last few weeks, and that's what I'm going to focus on.”
Reavie was flawless through 17 holes on Friday, making five birdies and no bogeys. At the par-5 18th, he drove the ball into the native area down the left side and was only able to advance his second shot about 70 yards. He reached the green with his fourth shot and barely missed his 13-footer for par. Through two rounds, Reavie has been very encouraged by his quality of putting, which bodes well for a solid weekend.
“Even like on the last hole, didn't go in but I hit a great putt and it had every opportunity to go in, so that's just what I want to focus on for the weekend,” Reavie said.
Every player from Nos. 114 through 127 in the FedExCup standings ventured to Minneapolis to try to improve his positioning for the stretch run, trying to find some late-season magic. On a day with temperatures in the 90s and the heat index soaring near 100, the early scoring was proving just as sizzling.
Bo Hoag (125th) came through with a 66 Friday, and names on the bubble such as Scott Stallings (117th), Brice Garnett (121st) and Rickie Fowler (124th) were responding well to the pressure of their situations as the second wave of players teed off on Friday afternoon. Fowler, 32, never has missed the Playoffs in his 11 seasons on the PGA TOUR.
Hoag, 32 and in his third PGA TOUR season, shot 67 on Thursday and said it was important to keep the pedal down on Friday. He made six birdies, and like Reavie, encountered his lone bogey on his final hole, with Hoag settling for 5 at the challenging 511-yard ninth, where he drove his ball into left-side native area and had to chop out to get back into play.
As for the torrid pace of scoring at TPC Twin Cities, which was softened by rains on Thursday? Hoag said he embraces it.
“You only have one option,” said Hoag, who has been lifted by recent solid showings at the Memorial (his hometown event in Ohio), where he was T13, and last week’s Barbasol Championship (T11). “You know you're going to have to shoot a good round or else you're going to get left behind. There's no real guessing game. Just got to be pretty aggressive with the scoring clubs in your hands and try to make some birdies out there.”
With Friday’s afternoon wave still on the golf course, four players shared the lead at 9-under 133: Roger Sloan (69); Reavie; Hoag; and Jhonnattan Vegas (69).
Others on the bubble who finished in the early wave on Friday and made needed moves: No. 118 Camilo Villegas, who played his last seven holes in 4 under (including an eagle at 18) to shoot 69; No. 123 Chesson Hadley (at 3-under 139 after shooting 72); No. 126 Chase Seiffert, who rallied with a bogey-free 67 after shooting 73 Thursday; and No. 131 Michael Thompson, the tournament’s defending champion, who shot 67 to move inside the cutline at 3 under.
“There’s a lot to play for this week,” Thompson said.