Sport Golf

Friday 24 May 2019

Power eyeing US PGA spot after second top-10 finish

Seamus Power in action at the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana. Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images
Seamus Power in action at the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana. Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Past performance is not always indicative of future results, but Seamus Power's stock is clearly on the rise after he racked up back-to-back top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour for the first time.

He will know from Rory McIlroy's disappointing Masters performance that there are no guarantees he will clinch a top-three finish in this week's Wells Fargo Championship in his adopted Charlotte, which could earn him a spot in next month's US PGA.

Still, he's more than pleased that he followed his tie for sixth in the RBC Heritage with a share of fifth place with Canadian David Hearn in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, leaping from 189th in the FedExCup standings to 117th in the space of a fortnight.

"What was most pleasing was that this week was another building block - one good week on top of another one," said Power, whose first goal is to remain in the top 125 who keep their PGA Tour cards.

"So it is nice to see that my game is building and I can have two weeks in a row like that.

"It's very encouraging. I am nowhere near where I want to be yet, but it's another step in the right direction."

The US PGA clashes with a trip home for his brother's wedding and a family christening, but that's a dilemma Power will happily face after the Wells Fargo Championship this week.

He's joined at Quail Hollow by McIlroy and Pádraig Harrington, who took time out yesterday to scout out the team facilities for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

After missing 11 of 15 cuts to start his season, Power was excited to follow a good week at Hilton Head with another in New Orleans.

"It's a nice top five and a nice little move in the FedEx," said Power, who was hoping for a good week having also tied for fifth with Hearn last year. And it was needed after a very slow start to the season.

"But that's the way you turn it around - a couple of decent weeks and you are back in a solid position. So it's definitely more to build on."

Rather than moving up the world rankings, Power fell six spots to 291st and while well outside the top 100 who will play in the US PGA, he could still make it to New York if he's one of the non-exempt players inside the Top 70 on the PGA Championship Points List - a year-long mini money list - next Sunday night.

Qualify

Ranked 120th, $409,264 behind 70th-ranked Ryan Moore, he would likely need a top-three finish at Quail Hollow to qualify via that route and, failing that, win the Byron Nelson next week.

"Quail Hollow is not a course I have played that often, but it's nice to get to sleep in your own bed and that helps you feel more relaxed and ready for a good week," said Power, who tied for 27th in Charlotte last year.

"I have the AT&T Byron Nelson next week and that's big too. Then it's PGA, Colonial and Memorial, but they are all invitational events, so I will have to wait and see how the next couple of weeks go and worry about it then.

"For now, my plan is to go home for my brother's Jack wedding on May 18. And it's going to be the christening of my nephew as well, so it's going to be special."

McIlroy started the season with five top-six finishes, followed by a win in The Players.

However, after losing to Woods in the last 16 of the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play, he failed to fire at Augusta National and will be keen to rediscover his early season form at Quail Hollow, where he has two wins and another four top-10 finishes in eight appearances.

Paul Dunne is the only Irishman at the European Tour's Volvo China Open, while Leona and Lisa Maguire play under lights in the world's first professional day-night event, the inaugural Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic at the Emirates Golf Club's Faldo Course.

Meanwhile, on the Challenge Tour, Ruaidhrí McGee, Michael Hoey, Paul McBride, Cormac Sharvin, Robin Dawson and Daniel Peacock will tee it up in the Challenge de Espana, while Stephanie Meadow plays the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship in California.

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