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Tour Report: Top 125 watch: Who’s up, who’s down

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Chez Reavie moved up to 125th in the latest money list projections following a 68 Thursday.

Redington/Getty Images Chez Reavie moved up to 125th in the latest money list projections following a 68 Thursday.

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

Leaderboard | Projected Money List

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — One round down, three to go — at least for those looking to land a spot in the all-important top 125 on the money list.

As Jonas Blixt, who is already well inside that number, put it earlier this week, guys playing for a card is where all the stress lies because they’re playing for their jobs.

Others, meanwhile, are eyeing the top 30 or top 70, which gets players into the Masters or invitational events.

With that in mind, here’s a look at who moved up, and who fell down, in the opening round of the season-ending Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.

WHO’S UP>>>

Camilo Villegas: He made the biggest jump of anyone on Thursday. Entering the week, Villegas was 150th on the money list and faced with the possibility of having to go to the second stage of q-school if he fell any further. He responded with a 7-under 65 to sit just one shot off the lead. As such, he’s now projected to climb more than 50 spots should he hold that position. Villegas has struggled since winning two years ago at The Honda Classic, falling outside the top 200 in the world. But he’s played much better of late with three straight finishes in the top 30. Villegas attributes the turnaround, in part, to a more positive outlook. “The biggest change is definitely mental and attitude,” Villegas said. Case in point: He three-putted his opening hole, No. 10 on the Palm Course, only to have nine one-putts the rest of the round. Started: 150th. Projected: 107th.

Kevin Chappell: The Californian began the week inside the bubble, but just barely. A 67 gave him a little more cushion. It was also a good sign given his recent play. Chappell came here having missed three of his last four cuts. He also hadn’t broken 70 in any of his opening rounds during that stretch. Another good omen for Chappell: He tied for third here a year ago. If he does that again, his future status will be more thn secure. As for his round, he tallied a half-dozen birdies and just one bogey. He also took just 24 putts, which included 10 one-putts (though that number is a bit skewed since he hit just 10 greens in regulation).  Started: 123rd. Projected: 118th.

Chez Reavie: If not for a playoff loss in Boston last year, Reavie wouldn’t even have to worry about his status for next year. As it is, he came to Disney on the outside looking in. A 68, however, puts him right on the bubble (replacing previous bubble boy Billy Mayfair). One big upside for Reavie: His 68 Thursday matched the low score on the much more difficult Magnolia Course here. That will put him in very good position going into the second round. Started: 132nd. Projected: 125th.

Charlie Wi: He’s never won in 183 starts on TOUR. A victory this week, though, would have double meaning since it would move him inside the top 30 on the money list and get him into the Masters. This is the eighth first-round lead of Wi’s career and third this year — he opened with a 61 at Pebble Beach’s Monterey Peninsula CC and a 66 at Bay Hill. Started: 45th. Projected: 29th.

Charles Howell III: He began the week 73rd on the money list. He’s now projected to move up to 69th after one of just five 68s on the Magnolia Course. Howell had a pair of eagles in his round, on the par-5 fourth and par-5 10th. He also missed just three greens in regulation. Started: 73rd. Projected: 69th.

WHO’S DOWN>>>

Rod Pampling: The Aussie came into this week precariously perched just two spots inside the number. After a disappointing 70 on the Palm Course, which played nearly two strokes under par and two strokes easier than the Magnolia Course, Pampling is now projected to finish 126th. Pampling’s 31 putts certainly didn’t help. Neither did a bogey on his final hole of the day, the par-4 ninth. A year ago, Pampling shot 76-69 to miss the cut here. Started: 124th. Projected: 126th.

Boo Weekley: The two-time TOUR winner came into the week flirting with the magic number. A 2-under 70 on the Magnolia dropped him one spot in the projections. He’s still safe for now, and he got the more difficult course out of the way on a breezy afternoon, but he’ll need to be careful. Weekley missed four of his last five cuts coming into this week. Started: 121st. Projected: 122nd.

Jeff Maggert: The veteran crept closer to the bubble, dropping two places in the projected money following a 72 on the Palm Course. He still has another season before he’s eligible for the Champions Tour, so being fully exempt is important to Maggert. Started: 122nd. Projected: 124th.

Billy Mayfair: A year ago, Mayfair entered this week on the wrong side of the number before tying for sixth to finish inside the top 125. Thursday, he shot a 72 on the Palm Course to fall off the bubble. Things started off well enough for Mayfair with three birdies through his first seven holes on the back nine. Then he double bogeyed the 18th and added three more bogeys on the front nine to close in 1 over.  Started: 125th. Projected: 127th.

Gary Christian: The 41-year-old rookie said this week he’s just enjoying the ride. It could be a short one if he doesn’t move inside the top 125. He came to Disney two spots outside the number and fell one more after opening with a 71 on the Palm Course. Part of the problem: He had just three birdies on a course that played a couple of strokes under par. He didn’t give himself many opportunities, though, hitting just nine greens and still taking 28 putts. Started: 127th. Projected: 128th.

NOTABLES

Robert Karlsson: He came into the week 161st on the money list and is projected to drop a spot after opening with a 1-under 71 on the Magnolia Course, which has him in a tie for 48th.

Justin Leonard: The 12-time winner entered 138th and fell a half-dozen spots following a 73 on the Magnolia Course. He does have a career money exemption for next season if needed, however.

Stuart Appleby: A 74 on the Magnolia Couse has the Aussie projected to tumble four more spots to 166th. In three of his last four starts, Appleby has finished over par.


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