Thursday 22 August 2019

Power needs performance of his life to keep PGA Tour card

Seamus Power is under pressure to produce a big performance at the Wyndham Championship. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Seamus Power is under pressure to produce a big performance at the Wyndham Championship. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Seamus Power finds himself drinking in the Last Chance Saloon for the third year in a row and facing a desperate battle to hang on to his PGA Tour card.

He tees it up in the final regular event of the season, the Wyndham Championship in North Carolina, likely needing a to equal his career-best PGA Tour finish to avoid a trip to the Korn Ferry Tour Finals - the new name for the Web.com Tour Play-offs.

The West Waterford star (32) won his card for the 2016-17 season via the Web.com Tour but finished 130th in FedExCup standings and was forced to battle through play-offs to regain it.

He got 28 starts as a result, notching two top-tens and six top-25 finishes to regain full playing rights by the skin of his teeth, claiming 125th and last place in the regular standings.

He improved to 114th after playing one FedExCup Play-off event 12 months ago, but it's been a roller-coaster third season for him and returns to the Wyndham Championship facing even more pressure.

Dire

He put himself in dire trouble when he missed 11 of the first 15 cuts, but while he emerged from that slump after changing coach mid-season, a mediocre summer means he may need to contend this week to jump into the top 125.

It's not all doom and gloom as he will have a second chance to win a card back via the Korn Ferry Tour Finals should he fail to reproduce the kind of golf that saw him tie for sixth in the RBC Heritage in April.

The three-event play-off series pits the top 75 from the second tier US Tour against those finishing between 125th and 200th on the PGA Tour's FedExCup points list.

However, Power isn't the only player under pressure to play well this week.

Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth, the 2017 FedExCup champion, is 67th in the standings and in danger of not making the top 30 who qualify for the Tour Championship for the second year running.

Stars like Aaron Wise (120th), Pat Perez (122nd) and Swedish Ryder Cup star Alex Noren (125th) are looking over their shoulders while 2015 Rookie of the Year Daniel Berger (131st), Bill Haas (140th), Beau Hossler (143rd) and Martin Kaymer (144th) also need huge weeks.

Europe's Ryder Cup captain Pádraig Harrington is 213th in the standings after playing on a Career Money List exemption this season.

If he doesn't win at Sedgefield Country Club, he may be able to claim a medical exemption for part of the 2019-20 season following his early-season wrist break.

There are no Irish players in action in the $4.5 million AIG Women's British Open at Woburn today.

US-based Leona Maguire did not qualify via the top-20 in the Ladies European Tour rankings, having decided instead to focus on the Symetra Tour this year.

"I was close, but I didn't do quite well enough in the four Ladies European Tour events I played early this season," the Co Cavan star said.

"It was not logistically possible to get back from New York in time to play the Final Qualifying, but my priority was the Symetra Tour this year."

She will tee it up next week's ASI Ladies' Scottish Open before Solheim Cup skipper Catriona Matthew announces her four wildcard picks for the matches at Gleneagles.

However, Maguire does not expect to receive a call-up, admitting that making the team was not a priority in her rookie season.

"It was never really on my radar this year," she said. "I have a few good friends on the team, and I will be wishing them well, and hopefully, I will be with them next time."

Meanwhile, Des Smyth, Philip Walton, Paul McGinley, Brendan McGovern and Mark McNulty will fly the flag for Irish golf in the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship in London.

On the Challenge Tour, Ardglass' Cormac Sharvin leads a six-strong Irish party in the €200,000 Vierumäki Finnish Challenge.

Sharvin, who is ninth in the Challenge Tour race for 15 European Tour cards, is joined by Gavin Moynihan, Ruaidhri McGee, Robin Dawson, Stuart Grehan and Stuart Peacock.

The European Tour is on a two-week break before resuming for the D+D Real Czech Masters at Albatross Golf Resort from August 15-18.

Wyndham Championship, Sky Sports Golf 8.0; Main event 10.15

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