Valspar win vaults Malnati into Aon Next 10; Garnett still atop Swing 5

Valspar win vaults Malnati into Aon Next 10; Garnett still atop Swing 5

Peter Malnati, a member of the PGA Tour’s policy board, has routinely expressed that the goal of the Tour’s new signature-event model is to get its best players competing against each other as much as possible.

Now, after winning the Valspar Championship on Sunday, Malnati is in those big tournaments.

Malnati will be able to play the remaining signature events, starting with the RBC Heritage in a few weeks, either out of the Aon Next 10 category or, should he drop out of that group, the winner’s category. He played the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this season on a sponsor invite and tied for 14th, beating the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Viktor Hovland, Xander Schauffele and Max Homa in the 54-hole, weather-shortened event.

“I have work to do to consider myself in that group of one of those top players in the world, but right now I'm 16th on the FedExCup, and I'm going to have a strong handful of opportunities to play in those fields,” Malnati said on Sunday evening. “I've had access to one so far this year at Pebble Beach and I did well, I held my own. To be in those, you know, is incredibly, incredibly meaningful because, first of all, they're some of my favorite tournaments. I mean, I get to go play Hilton Head. Hilton Head, you know, next to this golf course, is one of the most challenging courses that we play all year. And it's one that I look forward to going to each and every year. So, knowing that I might not have been there this year was, you know, was motivation for me to play really well, and, you know, work hard and try to get there. Now I'm there. It's amazing…

“Like, just to know I'm going to tee it up a handful of times, knowing I'm playing with the best players in the world for elevated FedExCup points, that's spectacular.”

Malnati is now sixth in the Aon Next 10, which is comprised of the top players in the current FedExCup standings who did not finish in the top 50 last season. The Next 10 through the Masters — with two events remaining — qualifies for the RBC Heritage the week after.

Here is the Next 10 through Valspar:

1. Matthieu Pavon
2. Ludvig Åberg
3. Jake Knapp
4. Will Zalatoris
5. Christiaan Bezuidenhout
6. Peter Malnati
7. Austin Eckroat
8. Erik van Rooyen
9. Grayson Murray
10. Justin Thomas

Shane Lowry is the first man out of the Next 10 at the moment.

Because Malnati is in the Next 10, he's not part of the Aon Swing 5, which considers the top point-getters from stretches between signature stops. Getting into the RBC Heritage will be the top five players in points accrued at the Puerto Rico Open, Valspar Championship, Texas Children's Houston Open and Valero Texas Open.

Here is the Swing 5 through PR and Valspar:

1. Brice Garnett
2. Erik Barnes
3. Chandler Phillips
3. Mac Hughes
5. Ryan Moore
5. Carl Yuan

Hayden Springer, the fifth and final player to earn his card via Q-School last December, is currently the first man out.