With two missed cuts and a WD in a three-year span at the Wyndham Championship, there’s little wonder that Henrik Stenson for years chose to skip the US PGA Tour’s regular-season finale. Not to mention it comes amid a busy stretch of golf and precedes the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
The 41-year-old Swede decided to return to Sedgefield Country Club this year, though. First and foremost, adding the trip to Greensboro, North Carolina, would help him hit his minimum number of tournaments required on the tour.
He ended up getting a lot more out of it than that.
Stenson bookended a couple of 66s with an opening 62 and a closing 64 to win by one stroke over Ollie Schniederjans. It was Stenson’s first victory since the 2016 British Open and first in the US since 2013.
“It’s funny how it goes,” Stenson said. “Sometimes it’s just a coincidence why you decide to go to a tournament and make a change in your schedule.”
The victory reminded him of one he had late in 2012, winning in South Africa. It was his first in three years and kickstarted Stenson on a run of terrific golf that included three wins, four runner-up finishes and three third-place finishes in 2013.
Playing in the Wyndham this year means that Stenson will make five starts in a six-week span, culminating in the Tour Championship and a chance at a second FedEx Cup title to go with the one he won in 2013.
Martin Flores, meanwhile, is just thankful to have another week to play. All it took was a hole-in-one.
After starting the week 139th in the FedEx Cup standings and in need of a good performance to move inside the top-125 to advance to the postseason, the 35-year-old aced the par-3 16th with an 8-iron, then birdied the last at Sedgefield.
“I knew exactly what I needed to do, especially when I was at the 15th fairway, the par 5,” said Flores, who tied for seventh in the tournament to move to 118th in the FedEx Cup standings. “I knew I needed two more [strokes] and I was fortunate to get three. I’m extremely happy.”
Rory Sabbatini, Harold Varner III and J.J. Henry also played their way into the postseason with Sabbatini moving from No.148 to 122 by virtue of his tie for fourth after a closing 64. Varner, meanwhile, tied for 10th to climb from 138th to 123rd, and Henry 16th-place showing, thanks to birdies on two of his last three holes, allowed him to become the last guy in, jumping from 134th at the start of the week.
“I’m not going to lie, I’ve won three times and played on a Ryder Cup and this was probably some of the most pressure I’ve felt, playing today,” said Henry, a 17-year US Tour veteran, after shooting a closing 67.
Then there were those who were less fortunate: Zac Blair, David Hearn, Seamus Power and Daniel Summerhays all fell out of the top-125 in Greensboro, and saw their seasons come to an end.
It was a difficult outcome for each.
The tournament-within-the-tournament vibe was perhaps best described by Geoff Ogilvy.
“There is a level of tension and stress in your body that’s just on a different level,” said the Aussie, who came into the week 125th in the FedEx Cup but secured his spot thanks to rounds of 66-66-67 the last three days to tie for 16th in the tournament. “I haven’t felt that since Q-School.”