SC golfers on PGA Tour: Who’s safe, who’s not for new year as season winds down

·4 min read

Only two PGA Tour tournaments remain for players to secure full status for the 2021-22 season, and there’s work — a lot of work — to do for about half of the South Carolina contingent.

The magic number is 125 in the season-long FedEx standings for players to qualify for this season’s playoffs and earn complete playing privileges for 2021-22, and more than half of the state players are in perilous positions.

The “safe” list:

Dustin Johnson, 15th in FedEx points and No. 2 in the world ranking, although his calendar year has been sub-par by his standards;

Lucas Glover, a former Clemson All-American who ended an 11-year winless streak at the John Deere Classic and is 33rd in points;

Kevin Kisner, the Aiken pro who is another who has not played to his usual standards, but he is 68th in FedEx points;

Doc Redman, another former Clemson star who tied for second at Congaree, posted three top-five finishes and is 82nd in points.

Matt NeSmith, the former USC All-American, has seven top-25 finishes this year and ranks 102nd.

Kyle Stanley, who starred at Clemson and heads into the final tournaments at 106.

Otherwise, state players need high finishes or will look to the Korn Ferry Tour playoffs to earn 2021-22 PGA status.

Scott Brown, who sparkled on USC Aiken’s national champion teams, has struggled much of the season and stands at 159. His tie for fourth at the John Deere provided hope that another outstanding tournament would vault him into the top 125.

Ben Martin (Greenville/Clemson) at 175, Mark Anderson (Beaufort/USC) at 177 and D.J. Trahan (Mount Pleasant/Clemson) at 187 figure to finish the season in the top 200 and have the opportunity to compete in the Korn Ferry playoffs.

Multi-tournament winners Bill Haas (Greenville) at 205 and Jonathan Byrd (Columbia/Clemson) at 206 have a shot at the top 200 and only will have former champion status — a low priority — should they fall short.

Tommy Gainey (Hartsville) has spent most of the season playing in Korn Ferry events and will make that tour’s playoffs. He, too, would have former PGA Tour champion status.

William McGirt (Bluffton/Wofford) and Wesley Bryan (Columbia/USC) will play 2021-22 on major medical extensions. Both played in 11 events this season, and Bryan suffered a tendon injury that sidelined him into new season that begins in September.

Andrew Novak (Mount Pleasant/Wofford) and Robert Diaz (USC Aiken) are in position to earn full PGA Tour status next season through their performances in pre-playoff Korn Ferry events.

Most of the top players will compete in the WGC St. Jude tourney next weekend with others in an opposite-field event, the Barracuda. The regular season ends with the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro on Aug. 12-15.

The top 125 start the playoffs in the Northern Trust. The top 70 after that event move on to the BMW and the top 30 earn places in the Tour Championship in Atlanta.

Amateur preview. The 90th South Carolina Amateur Championship unfolds Thursday to Sunday at DeBordieu Club near Georgetown with some familiar names in search of the state’s top amateur title.

Defending champion Jonathan Griz withdrew in order to compete in the U.S. Amateur that begins Aug. 9, leaving Kyle Bearden (tied for second), 2019 champion Tyler Gray (fourth) and Evans Lewis (fifth) the top returnees from the 2020 tournament.

Robert Lutomski and S.C. Match Play winner Jason Steiner will be joined by the college-aged crowd led by Jack Parrott, Columbia champion Bronson Myers, Walker Jones and Gene Zeigler and junior stars Rowan Sullivan and Max Green.

The last time the Amateur came to DeBordieu, 2016, former Clemson star and current mini-tour pro Carson Young won by three strokes with a four-round total of 277.

Chip shots. The U.S. Women’s Amateur that begins Monday in Rye, New York includes four South Carolinians: Jensen Castle (West Columbia/Kentucky), Anna Morgan (Spartanburg/Furman), Emma Schimpf (Daniel Island/College of Charleston) and Mary Kathryn Toledo (Spartanburg/College of Charleston). ... Former USC All-American and current PGA Tour pro Matt NeSmith is the title sponsor the AJGA junior tournament Tuesday-Thursday at Forest Lake Club. NeSmith won the AJGA’s player of the year honors in 2012. ... The Palmetto State squad won the Georgia-South Carolina Junior Team Matches at Greenville CC’s Riverside Course. ... Zach Adams (Charleston) and Paige Paolucci (Blythewood) won the individual titles in the 23rd annual Blade Junior Classic at Thornblade Club in Greer. ... In the South Carolina Junior Match Play at Lancaster GC, Zach Adams (Charleston) earned the boys’ title and Skye Two Hawks Skenandore (Aiken) took the girls’ championship.