GREENSBORO, N.C. – Edmond’s Robert Streb hit 5,319 shots this year on the PGA TOUR. It was one too many to keep his card and qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs.
Streb finished the Wyndham Championship ranked 126th in the FedExCup; the top 125 at week’s end qualified for the Playoffs and retained their full status for the following season. Streb barely missed an 11-foot birdie putt on his final hole Sunday that would’ve gotten him into the top 125.
He wasn’t alone. This was the first time since the FedExCup began in 2007 that no one moved into the top 125 in the final week before the Playoffs. Three or more players have moved into the top 125 at the Wyndham Championship in four of the FedExCup’s six previous seasons.
"I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get it done today, but it could’ve been worse," said Streb, who started Wyndham week at No. 133 in the FedExCup. "I could’ve missed the cut and gone backward." He finished T-37 at at the Wyndham Championship after shooting par or better in all four rounds.
Nos. 126-132 in the FedExCup at the start of the week all missed the cut (with the exception of No. 127 Nicolas Colsaerts, who wasn’t in the field). Padraig Harrington, David Toms, Vijay Singh are among the players who missed the Playoffs for the first time. Heath Slocum, who won the 2009 The Barclays at Liberty National, also is out of the Playoffs for the first time. Liberty National is site of next week’s Barclays; it’s the first time the course has hosted the event since his victory.
Streb will have conditional PGA TOUR status next season and likely get 15 or more starts. He’ll also have a shot at regaining his full PGA TOUR playing privileges through the Web.com Tour Finals, which start Aug. 29. He’ll be joined by names like Ryo Ishikawa, Chris DiMarco, Bud Cauley and Ricky Barnes in the inaugural four-event series that will award 25 PGA TOUR cards.
Barnes, the 2009 U.S. Open runner-up, started the Wyndham’s final round three shots outside the top 125, but a final-round 67 only moved him up three spots on the leaderboard into a tie for 20th. He needed to finish solo 10th or better to keep his card.
"I have to," Barnes replied when asked if he would play Web.com Tour Finals. "It’s the only way I can get my card back."
The top 125 on the PGA TOUR return to Liberty National for the first event in the FedExCup Playoffs, The Barclays.
The real drama Sunday at Sedgefield Country Club surrounded the players trying to crack the top 200 in the FedExCup to earn their way into the Web.com Tour Finals. Andres Gonzales, who’d made just two of 16 cuts before the Wyndham, shot a final-round 64 to tie for eighth. The first top-10 of his PGA TOUR career moved him from 238th to 198th in the FedExCup standings.
"It’s huge," Gonzales said about making the Finals, the only opportunity for him to earn his way back to the PGA TOUR for the 2013-14 season. Jin Park posted his first top-25 of the season to move from 202 to 189 in the FedExCup standings.
The lack of activity from those just outside the top 125 ensured that everyone who started the week inside that number is headed to the FedExCup Playoffs. Ben Crane, who started the week at No. 124, is still Playoffs-bound despite missing the Wyndham Championship cut. He tweeted early Sunday, "Checked out of hotel on way to airport, but don’t know where I’m flying." He’ll be headed to The Barclays in northern New Jersey instead of home to Dallas. This is Crane’s sixth consecutive Playoffs appearance; he only missed in his injury-shortened season of 2007, the FedExCup’s inaugural year.
Crane finished just 10 points ahead of Streb, who would’ve bumped Crane if he’d made that final birdie putt. Streb also missed a 14-foot birdie putt on No. 17 Sunday. "I had two good shots at it," Streb said, "and missed one high and one low."
Stuart Appleby, a nine-time TOUR winner, stayed at No. 123 in the FedExCup to keep his TOUR playing privileges, while Scott Langley finished 124th. Langley, a TOUR rookie, was 121st in the standings before missing the Wyndham cut.
Steven Bowditch, who started the week at No. 125 in the FedExCup, finished 29th at Wyndham to move up to 120th in the standings. He was two shots outside the cut line after a 1-over 71 in the first round, but a bogey-free 66 in the second round allowed him to make the cut and keep his Playoffs position safe.
"I played nicely," Bowditch said. "I’m looking forward to next week."