Hadley takes 2-shot lead into the weekend
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Chesson Hadley and Andrew Svoboda did well enough Friday to think about a return to Sawgrass next May.
Hadley had six birdies in his round of 4-under 66 on the Valley Course at the TPC Sawgrass to take a two-shot lead over Joe Durant going into the weekend at the Web.com Tour Championship. Svoboda had a 67 and was among those three shots behind.
The leader of the special money list from the four tournaments that determine PGA Tour cards for the 2013-14 season is exempt into The Players Championship on the more famous Stadium Course with the richest purse in golf.
“You love seeing your name up there, but honestly I couldn’t care less,” said Hadley, who was at 9-under 131. “If it’s there on Sunday, that’s all that matters.”
Hadley and Svoboda already are assured their cards from finishing among the top 25 on the money list during the Web.com Tour regular season. They are playing for their priority ranking, and No. 1 on this four-event money list comes with a big perk — full status, including a spot in The Players Championship.
Svoboda won the Chiquita Classic in the second event, and needs to finish in the top four to win the special money title. Hadley needs a win to have any chance.
Durant had a 67 to boost his hopes of earning one of 25 tour cards available Sunday from the four-tournament money list. Durant, a past champion on the PGA Tour, turns 50 next year and will move over to the Champions Tour. His stress level wasn’t as high.
“I’d still love to get through and have my tour card, too,” Durant said. “For guys who are trying to get their tour card for the first time, today is going to be a stressful day because they definitely need to make it to the weekend.”
There was plenty of stress on a day that featured rain in the morning, followed by a strong wind in the afternoon.
Going into this final event, the last six players from the top 25 on the special money list — who don’t already have cards — all missed the cut. Steve Wheatcroft was at No. 25, and he had no chance of earning a card after scores of 74-71 to miss the cut. The top 60 and ties made the cut at even-par 140.
From Ricky Barnes at No. 16 through Wheatcroft at No. 25, the only players who made the cut were Jim Herman (No. 17) and Troy Merritt (No. 19). Merritt had a 64, the low round of the day, and was at 3-under 137.
Among those who missed the cut and were outside the top 25 at the start of the week were former Ryder Cup player Chris DiMarco, Spencer Levin and D.J. Trahan, who withdrew after his opening round.
Friday also brought renewed hope for players who had been outside the top 25. Aron Price, No. 55 on the list of those who don’t have their cards, had a 65 and was tied for third with Svoboda at 6-under 134. Rod Pampling made five birdies in seven holes, and recovered from a double bogey on No. 10 by chipping in for birdie below the 12th green. He shot a 66 and was at 4 under.
Andrew Putnam, the younger brother of Web.com Tour money list winner Michael Putnam, had a 67 and was at 5-under 135, improving his chances of joining big brother on the PGA Tour next year. Jhonattan Vegas had a 69 and joined the group at 135.
With so many players missing the cut, Putnam might need only to finish 15th to get his card.
“It all depends on how everyone else plays,” Putnam said. “I think you’re going to need less money than we thought going into it.”
The four events in the Web.com Tour Finals are for the top 75 players from the Web.com Tour money list and Nos. 126-200 from the FedEx Cup standings on the PGA Tour.