ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – A cold rain and multiple delays caused the opening round at the RSM Classic to spill over into Friday, but with multiple benchmarks looming the season-ending picture has started to crystalize.
Players vying to play their way inside the top 60, top 125 and top 150 on the FedExCup Fall points list dominated the Day 1 leaderboard, including Russell Knox, No. 146 on the points list, who opened with a 66 for a share of 10th place. The Scot was projected to move to No. 140, a few spots closer to the coveted top 125 who will be fully exempt for 2024.
“I draw so much inspiration from Camilo [Villegas] the last couple weeks, you just never know when it's all going to turn around. A lot of the things that he said in his interviews is exactly the way I felt. The word ‘demons’ comes to mind,” said Knox, who was two shots off the lead. “I mean, golf, golf when you've been out here 12 years for me and longer for Camilo, it's a hard game.”
A few weeks ago, Villegas was outside the top 200 in FedExCup points. He then finished T-2-Win to secure his card for the next two seasons.
Tommy Gainey made a similar push to that of Knox's, with a 66 on the Seaside Course to jump from 211st on the points list to 199th (projected) and within sight of the top 150 threshold, which would come with conditional status for next season.
When play was halted at 5:17 p.m. ET multiple players were projected to play their into and out of the top 125, top 150 and top 60, which will count as the Next 10 category and give players access to two of next year’s first three signature events (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and The Genesis Invitational).
There was plenty of movement around all three bubbles, including No. 150 Charley Hoffman, who is projected to drop to 151st and would be replaced by Kelly Kraft; Nos. 125 Andrew Novak and 123 Troy Merritt, who were projected to slip to Nos. 126 and 127, respectively, with Henrik Norlander and Maverick McNealy moving into the top 125; and Nos. 59 J.J. Spaun and 60 Sam Ryder, who were projected to drop to Nos. 62 and 63, respectively, with Davis Thompson and Mark Hubbard moving into the top 60.