The McGladrey Classic Preview
The major subplots of this week’s McGladrey Classic on the US Tour are whether Jonas Blixt will qualify for next year’s Masters, and who will retain their cards by finishing in the top 125 of the Money List.
Blixt has been the hottest golfer on Tour during the Fall Series. He followed up a third place finish at the JT Shriners Open by taking the Frys.com Open and thus winning for the first time on the main Tour. Blixt is now 35th in the standings, and needs to get inside the top 30 to receive an invite for Augusta next spring.
The Swede is a 2011 graduate of the Web.com Tour and has adapted well to the demands of playing at the highest level. He birdied two of the last four holes on Sunday to secure the win, and bravely holed a four foot putt on the final green to win by one shot.
Jhonattan Vegas, YE Yang, Tim Herron, Bobby Gates and Brendan Steele are currently ranked 126 to 130 so they could retain their cards with a decent week on the Seaside Course at Sea Island in Georgia that hosts this event for the third year.
Yang will retain his card even if he finishes outside the top 125 as he still has an exemption for winning the PGA Championship in 2009. That victory ensured full membership to the US and European Tours for five years. However, the other players on the “bubble” do not have that luxury.
Each of the four players close to the mark are playing this week. A top-10 finish should be enough to ensure a definite schedule for next year, though the issue is complicated by the fact that due to career earnings Justin Leonard and Retief Goosen will keep their cards regardless of their final standing in the rankings.
Zach Johnson (pictured) is the highest ranked player in the field. He played in both the Tour Championship and Ryder Cup this year. Rested and fresh, he has a good opportunity this week to add to his tally of 9 PGA career wins.
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