A cluster of Australians are teeing it up in North Carolina this week as they try to play themselves into the US PGA Tour’s lucrative playoff series.
The Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, serves as the last regular-season event of the season before the FedEx Cup Playoffs, where only the top-125 on the FedEx Cup rankings will progress.
Five Australians are safely in the top-125 and will be eligible to play in the first playoff event, the Northern Trust on Long Island from next week.
But one of those, Adam Scott, is not playing because he has returned to Australia for the birth of his second child with wife Marie. Scott’s season is effectively over.
The ones who are safe are Marc Leishman (ranked 14th), Cameron Smith (45), Jason Day (47) and Rod Pampling (68).
Precariously placed at No.125 is Geoff Ogilvy, while Aaron Baddeley needs to make something happen at 133rd, along with the 140th-ranked Cameron Percy and Matt Jones (149).
Ogilvy, Baddeley, Percy and Jones are all playing in the hope of enhancing their position. So is Smith, who won his first US PGA Tour title this season in a teams event with Jonas Blixt, but Leishman, Day and Pampling are resting up, their positions assured.
This week is huge for Ogilvy, who used his one-off career-earnings exemption to play on the US Tour this year. He needs a finish about 50th this week to guarantee a spot on the main tour next year. Otherwise, he would need to switch his focus to the upcoming Web.com Tour playoffs.
The tour’s playoffs feature a progressive cut, meaning that only 100 will graduate to the second event, the Dell Championship in Boston, just 70 to the BMW Championship outside Chicago, and 30 to the Tour Championship in Atlanta, where the $US10 million FedEx Cup bonus will be handed to the player with the most points.
Last year Rory McIlroy picked up $US11.5 million in a single day by winning both the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup bonus.
No Australian has won the FedEx Cup bonus, instituted in 2007.
FEDEX CUP TOP-5:
1 Hideki Matsuyama
2 Justin Thomas
3 Jordan Spieth
4 Dustin Johnson
5 Rickie Fowler
14 Marc Leishman
45 Cameron Smith
47 Jason Day
62 Adam Scott
68 Rod Pampling
125 Geoff Ogilvy
133 Aaron Baddeley
140 Cameron Percy
149 Matt Jones
169 Greg Chalmers
189 Stuart Appleby
193 Brett Drewitt
The Northern Trust, Glen Oaks Club, Long Island
Dell Technologies Championship, TPC Boston, Massachusetts
BMW Championship, Conway Farms Golf Club, Illinois
Tour Championship, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta
All prize purses: $US8.75 million