Wyatt takes advantage of sponsor's exemption, earns spot at Quail Hollow

Wyatt takes advantage of sponsor's exemption, earns spot at Quail Hollow

The 1,198th ranked golfer in the world nearly won on Monday in his ninth PGA Tour start.

University of Alabama product Bobby Wyatt got into the Zurich Classic of New Orleans on a sponsor's exemption. The 23-year-old, who has no status on any major tour, found himself in the lead late in the weather-shortened, 54-hole event. However, two consecutive three-putt bogeys on Nos. 14 and 15 at TPC Louisiana were ultimately what kept him from winning his first PGA Tour title.

Birdies on the 16th and the par-5 18th gave Wyatt a closing 8-under 64, but the round left him a shot out of a playoff eventually won by Brian Stuard over Jamie Lovemark and Byeong-hun An. His solo fourth-place finish was his best career effort as a pro.

"I've certainly gained a lot of confidence from this week," Wyatt said. "I found out that I can play with these guys, and hopefully I'll get a chance next week."

Before this week, Wyatt had made only three professional starts in 2016, all of them coming on the South Africa-based Sunshine Tour. He won't have to worry about making that long transatlantic trek any time soon. By virtue of scoring a top-10 finish in New Orleans, Wyatt automatically earned a spot in this week's Wells Fargo Championship. With another high finish this week in Charlotte, Wyatt could well earn enough to land special temporary membership on the PGA Tour through the end of the season, allowing him to accept unlimited sponsor's exemptions. He's currently limited to five more this season, accounting for this week and his spot in last year's RSM Classic, part of the PGA Tour's wraparound schedule.

Wyatt also earned enough non-member FedEx Cup points to assure himself a spot in the season-ending Web.com Tour finals, where he could potentially sew together enough money in the four-event series to earn one of 25 PGA Tour cards for the 2016-17 season.

Add in that Wyatt cashes a $336,000 check for his work this week, and he's on Cloud Nine.

"This is really exciting," Wyatt said. "This is where I mostly want to be, and I feel like I can play out here, and it's great to have another opportunity."

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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