PGA Tour players who surprisingly won — and lost — a chance at millions on Sunday
Erik van Rooyen and Sergio Garcia moved in. Charley Hoffman and Max Homa moved out.
And Alex Noren and K.H. Lee were in. And out. All on the 72nd and final hole.
Sunday’s final round of the BMW Championship was also the finish line of the second leg of the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs. The top 30 players in a season-long standings move to next week’s Tour Championship, where the purse is $60 million, a quarter of which goes to the winner. The remaining 40 at Caves Valley could, at best, wax poetic.
“It’s golf, you know,” he said. “That happens.”
Here then are the PGA Tour players who — and lost — a chance at millions on Sunday.
And the bizarre case of Patrick Reed.
Atop the list heading to East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta is Patrick Cantlay, also the winner at the BMW. Based on the three-year-old format of the Tour Championship, he’ll begin the tournament at 10-under, and two shots ahead of the No. 2 player in the standings, Tony Finau. Bryson DeChambeau, runner-up on Sunday, will start at seven-under as the No. 3 player, and so on down the line, until the Nos. 26-30 players, who will begin the Tour Championship at even par.
Which is where we find both Van Rooyen and Garcia.
Ahead of the Barracuda Championship at the start of the month, Van Rooyen was sitting in the standings’ triple digits. Then he won. Then he tied for 37th the next week at the Wyndham Championship. Then he finished seventh at the Northern Trust, the first leg of the playoffs. Then he shot 67, 68, 67 and 65 at the BMW, with a birdie on 18 on Sunday. He’ll start at the No. 27 position beginning Thursday.
“A player knowing what he’s capable of but struggling to find his feet and searching for a little bit of confidence. Now it’s almost completely flipped,” said Van Rooyen, when asked to compare the player before the Barracuda to the player on Sunday. “I’m absolutely cruising, and I’m playing some of the best golf I’ve ever played consistently. It’s a great place to be.”
At No. 28 heading to East Lake is Garcia. Entering the week, he was 44th. Entering the 5th, he was 17th, then he proceeded to hit the lip on two straight bunker shots. Entering the 10th, he was 27th, then he shanked his second shot. But on 18, after an approach to the left greenside bunker, he hit to within 4 inches on his third shot and secured his spot.
“To come back after what happened on 5 and not give up and keep at it and play as hard as I did those last three holes, the two up-and-downs I made on 16 and 18, they were very nice,” Garcia said.
The top 30: 1, Cantlay, 10-under; 2, Finau, 8-under; 3, DeChambeau, 7-under; 4, Jon Rahm, 6-under; 5, Cameron Smith, 5-under; 6-10, Justin Thomas, Harris English, Abraham Ancer, Jordan Spieth, Sam Burns, 4-under; 11-15, Collin Morikawa, Sungjae Im, Viktor Hovland, Louis Oosthuizen, Dustin Johnson, 3-under; 16-20, Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele, Jason Kokrak, Kevin Na, Brooks Koepka, 2-under; 21-25, Corey Conners, Hideki Matsuyama, Stewart Cink, Joaquin Niemann, Scottie Scheffler, 1-under; 26-30, Daniel Berger, van Rooyen, Garcia, Billy Horschel, Reed, even.
Atop the list of those heading home, according to the standings, are Lee (No. 31), Hoffman (No. 32), Noren (No. 33), Si Woo Kim (No. 34) and Homa (No. 35). Further down the list of those missing out are Kevin Kisner (No. 38), Webb Simpson (No. 40), Shane Lowry (No. 45), Lee Westwood (No. 50) and Phil Mickelson (No. 70), though only Hoffman and Homa were among the top 30 to start the week.
For Lee and Noren, they were in. And then, as Noren himself said above, golf happened.
Lee entered the 18th 29th in the standings, hit his tee shot down the left side of the fairway — then rocketed his second shot right of the green, where it bounced and narrowly avoided water. He dropped, nearly hit into the water again and finished the hole with a bogey.
“That’ll sting, and I know what that feels like,” said Van Rooyen, who played with Lee on Sunday. “But he’s a phenomenal player. He’ll be OK.”
Noren also entered 18 at No. 29 and also hit his tee shot down the left side of the fairway. From there, he hit into a left greenside bunker, blasted out to 7 feet — then missed the par putt just to the left of the hole.
“I mean, I holed a few long ones in the middle of the round, and I’ve played golf long enough to understand that happens,” said Noren, who admirably answered questions considering the situation. “It’s not an easy putt to make under the circumstances.”
Reed, who has missed the past two weeks after being hospitalized with bilateral pneumonia, also advanced.
It’s unknown if he’ll be ready by Thursday.