Victorian veteran Stuart Appleby has managed to cling to his US PGA Tour card for 2014 by a slender margin.
Appleby finished in a tie for 45th place in the final regular tour event, the Wyndham Champiosnhip, in Greensboro, North Carolina, at the weekend, ensuring he does not have to rely on sponsor and special invitations next season.
A nine-times winner on the US Tour, he has not won since 2010, but finished in 123rd place on the FedExCup standings after the Wyndham.
The leadng 125 on the points table retain their cards and are also eligible for the first of the play-off tournaments, The Barclays, beginning this week.
Tiger Woods headed the FedEx standings from compatriot Matt Kuchar while US Masters champion Adam Scott was the leading Australian at No.11.
Jason Day is 14 and he and Scott are the only two players so far inside the top 30 who will contest the Tour Championship.
Apart from Appleby, Aaron Baddeley, John Senden, Steven Bowditch and Greg Chalmers can play in The Barclays.
Geoff Ogilvy, at 99 on the standings, is eligible for the second of the season-ending series, the Deutsche Bank Championships, while another star Victorian, Mark Leishman, landed in 69th spot, good enough to elevate him to the BMW Champiosnhip, along with countryman Matt Jones. The top 70 ranked players make this event while the list is trimmed to 30 for the final event.
American Patick Reed won the Wyndham event in a play-off at 14 under par while Jones had an impressive tie for fifth, three shots back.
Bowditch, Senden and Victorian Alistair Presnell all had a share of 29th, with Ogilvy 37th and Nick O’Hern and Appleby 45th.
It was a close call for Appleby, who slumped with a third round 76, but rescued his privileges with a final round 66, while for Bowditch the final day came as a relief.
"I played nicely," Bowditch said. "I’m looking forward to next week."
While players only get into the playoffs next week if they are inside the top 125 of the season-long points race, they are also guaranteed places on next season’s tour.
Those players outside the top 125 on the points list but inside it on the money list miss out on the playoffs but still get cards for next season.
If they finish lower than 125 on both lists and between 126th and 200th on the points list players must enter the secondary web.com tour playoffs along with that tour’s top 75 players with just 50 US PGA Tour cards on offer in a four-event shootout.
The Australians who have made the play-offs all have a shot at qualifying for the 30-man Tour finale where the winner will pocket a staggering $US10 million bonus as season-long champion.
Victoria’s Robert Allenby has had a miserable season – he was 183rd on points and 181st on the money list before this week and is likely to have to use one of his two lifetime exemptions to remain on tour next year.
Meanwhile, with two events left in the regular season for the web.com tour where the top 25 will be guaranteed half of the 50 cards on offer in their playoffs Tasmanian Mathew Goggin and Victorian Ashley Hall are all in the running.
By: Robert Grant