Notes: One tournament remains in Tour Finals

September 17, 2013

The final event of the FedExCup Playoffs, the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, takes center stage this week in Atlanta.  Participants in the Tour Finals get a rest this week before heading to PGA TOUR headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. and TPC Sawgrass for the season-ending Tour Championship (Sept. 26-29), where all 50 PGA TOUR cards for 2013-14 will be finalized.

24 TOURNAMENTS DOWN, ONE TO GO NEXT WEEK – If you attended the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship or watched it on Golf Channel, you no doubt sensed the players were feeling the heat as they competed for the second set of 25 cards and positioning on the PGA TOUR for 2013-14.  After 21 Regular Season events and three Finals events, only one tournament remains, at TPC Sawgrass next week.  Here’s where things stand in the battle for the final 25 spots, based on the current Tour Finals money list (previous week’s $ position is in parenthesis):

1-Seung Yul Noh, $210,125  (T11)

10-Hudson Swafford, $45,071 (24th)

19-Troy Merritt, $32,500 (10th)

2-Trevor Immelman, $180,000 (1st)

11-Bud Cauley, $41,900  (6th)

20-Greg Owen, $29,325 (T14th)

3-John Peterson, $164,000  (4th)

12-Tyrone Van Aswegen, $41,333 (T82nd)

21-Vaughn Taylor, $29,175 (T14th)

4-Will MacKenzie, $118,400  (T2nd)

13-Heath Slocum, $40,000  (T14th)

22-Spencer Levin, $27,071  (T82nd)

5-Patrick Cantlay, $108,000  (T2nd)

14-Chad Collins, $38,671  (33rd)

23-Camilo Benedetti, $26,000  (T14th)

6-Ryo Ishikawa, $67,071  (7th)

15-Sean O’Hair, $36,000  (T18th)

24-Alistair Presnell, $25,920  (T18th)

7-Scott Gardiner, $61,533  (5th)

16-Ricky Barnes, $34,750  (9th)

25-Steve Wheatcroft, $23,925  (53rd)

8-Troy Matteson, $57,250  (8th)

17-Jim Herman, $34,019  (48th)

9-Will Claxton, $48,125  (T11th)

18-Bobby Gates, $33,650  (T11th)

Heading to TPC Sawgrass on the outside looking in are: 26-Bhavik Patel ($1,583 behind Wheatcroft), T27-Adam Crawford and Ryan Spears ($1,925), 29-Kris Blanks ($2,525) and 30-Ben Kohles ($3,405).

Twelve players who already earned their cards via the Regular Season money list are bypassed on the Finals money list to determine the list of 25 above – Michael Putnam, Andrew Svoboda, Edward Loar, Ben Martin, Kevin Kisner, Chesson Hadley, Brice Garnett, Peter Malnati, Bronson La’Cassie, Alex Aragon, Tim Wilkinsonand Brendon Todd.

NOTE ON NOH – With his win on Sunday at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship and a T7 at the Finals-opening Hotel Fitness Championship, Seung Yul Noh has taken the Finals money list lead.  Finishing No. 1 in Finals earnings brings with it two very big rewards – fully exempt PGA TOUR status and an invitation to THE PLAYERS.  However, on Tuesday Noh withdrew from the Tour Championship.  Upon leaving Columbus on Sunday evening, he was seriously contemplating a trip home to South Korea and not returning until the start of the 2013-14 PGA TOUR season in four weeks at the Open.  “I want to go home,” Noh said.  The 22-year old has not been home since December, residing in a condo in Dallas when not on the PGA TOUR this year. 

CHASING NOH FOR FINALS NO. 1 – With another $180,000 first prize available at the Tour Championship, any player currently 29th or better on the Finals money list has a mathematical chance to pass Noh for No. 1. Troy Merritt is currently No. 29 with $32,500. The following players, with earnings of $100,000+, are leading the Finals after three of four tournaments: 

1 – Seung Yul Noh  $210,125

2 – Andrew Svoboda  $186,467

3 – Trevor Immelman  $180,000

4 – John Peterson  $164,000

5 – Edward Loar  $119,200

6 – Will MacKenzie  $118,400

7 – Patrick Cantlay  $108,000

8 – Ben Martin  $104,933

The Finals money list determines the order by which players will be ranked in order to get into PGA TOUR fields in 2013-14.  The Regular Season leading money winner (Michael Putnam) and Finals leading money winner will not have to concern themselves with the ranking order as they will be fully exempt.

BENJAMIN ALVARADO HOPEFUL – Absent from the Tour since late July, Benjamin Alvarado hopes to return to play at next week’s last Finals event at TPC Sawgrass. The Brasil Classic presented by HSBC winner has been dealing with knee inflammation throughout the summer.  His last event was the Albertsons Boise Open, where he missed the cut. At the time, he was 12th on the money list, but with no subsequent starts has dropped to 19th at the end of the Regular Season, which came in late August at the Cox Classic. His performance was good enough to secure one of the first 25 cards awarded that week.  An unfortunate by-product of Alvarado’s absence from the Tour has been his drop to 50th out of 50 in the priority rankings that will be used to form fields on the PGA TOUR.  Alvarado became the first Chilean to win on the Tour in April.  For more on his story, read Jeff Shain’s recent feature.

JOHN PETERSON:  “I’M OUT OF GAS” – John Peterson kept up his hot Finals play, firing a final-round 66 at the difficult Ohio State University Scarlet Course to jump from T17 to third. It came on the heels of a T5 at the Hotel Fitness Championship and a T3 last week at the Chiquita Classic.  The LSU product who still lives in Baton Rouge admittedly was looking forward to a week away from golf after playing nine in a row.  “I’m going to the Auburn game on Saturday and I can’t wait,” he said.  “I’m out of gas. I am. I am out of gas.”

WEB.COM TOUR WELCOMES FIVE PGA TOUR CANADA MEMBERS FOR 2014 – The 2013 PGA TOUR Canada season wrapped up on Sunday and with it graduated its five leading money winners to the Tour in 2014. MacKenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ontario leads “The Five”.  As the Tour’s leading money winner, he will be fully exempt next year.  Riley Wheeldon, Mark Hubbard, Hugo Leon and Wil Collins will join Hughes on Tour with highly placed status as they pursue their PGA TOUR dreams via the Tour.

WEB.COM TOUR Q-SCHOOL DEADLINE – The deadline to enter the Tour Qualifying Tournament is this week – 5 p.m. ET, Wed., Sept. 18.  First Stage “Q-School” will be held Oct. 8-11 at 12 sites, followed by Second Stage Nov. 12-15 at six sites and the Finals, which will be played at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif. Dec. 12-17.  Pre-Qualifying Stages are now complete.

DID YOU KNOW? – Seung Yul Noh has won twice on the Asian Tour, with his first title coming at the 2008 Midea China Classic when he was 16.  It made him the third-youngest Asian Tour winner.  Noh also won the 2010 Maybank Malaysian Open, defeating countryman K.J. Choi by a stroke.  The latter event was co-sanctioned by both the Asian Tour and the European Tour.

NEXT WEEK – If the first three Finals events are any barometer, the 2013 Tour season will come to a dramatic conclusion at the fourth event, the Tour Championship (Sept. 26-29), at TPC Sawgrass Dye’s Valley Course.  Not only will a Championship winner be crowned for the 21st time, the second set of 25 cards will be determined and all 50 PGA TOUR ranking positions for 2013-14 finalized.