Golfer misses PGA Tour card by an inch
Golf’s a cruel sport, and it’s even more wicked when you leave behind the majors — let’s face it, almost everyone who gets near the top of the leaderboard at a major is doing just fine — and start diving deeper into golf’s ranks.
This past weekend saw the final regular-season event of the Web.com Tour, the WinCo Foods Portland Open. At stake: a PGA Tour card, and some serious job security, for the players who reached the top 25 on the Web.com Tour’s money list.
As you’d imagine, drama abounded. Kevin Dougherty began the week in 36th place, but after playing himself into the top 5 on the leaderboard, found himself in a wrenching position: needing a birdie on the 18th hole to win. His approach came up just short, and he needed a 25-foot chip to get his card.
Brutal. Just brutal. “I mean it was pretty dead center, I thought. It had the line,” said Dougherty, via Golf Digest. “I thought it might end up a hair short. But it just missed a hair left.”
In better news: John Chin started the week in 41st place on the money list, but thanks to a second-place finish, ended up in 10th, guaranteeing himself exemptions into most of the 2018-19 PGA Tour season’s tournaments. His emotion after draining the final putt was obvious:
All is not yet lost for Dougherty, however. He now moves into the Web.com playoffs, where he’s got the chance to play his way onto the big stage with a strong performance in the tour’s postseason.
It’s not unprecedented; last year Keith Mitchell had a similar 18th-hole misfire in the last tournament of the regular season — he thought he needed an eagle to advance, but only needed a birdie — and then went out and won the first playoff event. Mitchell has earned a cool $1.5 million since then, meaning there’s always a chance.
“I just have to keep the momentum going,” Dougherty said. “Same mindset, same routine, we’ll get it done.”