Date: August 26, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes

Aussies’ last chance to make Price right

Time is of the essence as Steve Bowditch and John Senden race for a maiden berth in the Presidents Cup.

With the US PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup playoffs beginning tomorrow in New Jersey, the Queenslanders sit 12th and 13th respectively in the International team standings, narrowly outside the automatic top 10 that is locked in on September 7.

That leaves The Barclays and the Deutsche Bank Championship, provided both continue via the FedEx Cup standings, to push up as captain Nick Price weighs his selections for the final two berths in the team to compete against the United States in Korea from October 8.

Price recently gave his strongest – and predictable – indication that there was likely to be a Korean player in his final 12, but at the same time cast strong doubts over No.11 Byeong-Hun An whose form has waned dramatically since winning the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May.

Korean-born New Zealander Danny Lee has continued to rise after his maiden PGA Tour victory at the Greenbrier Classic in July.

The Rotorua-raised 25-year-old finished sixth in the WGC Bridgestone, then backed up with a solid run to T43 at the US PGA Championship to push into 10th position in the standings.

But with Price having previously stated Lee was in the frame as a prospective captain’s pick, the Kiwi looks a solid bet to play at a course that is just kilometres from where he was born in Incheon.

Price recently admitted sympathy for Korean Sangmoon Bae as he fights issues regarding his country’s compulsory military service, hinting he’s still in the mix despite being 25th in the pecking order.

“I’m hoping (Bae) plays well the next few weeks and gives himself the chance to compete in The Presidents Cup in his home country,” Price wrote in his most recent captain’s blog.

Which gives both fair warning and direct opportunity to Bowditch and Senden.

Bowditch, ranked 22, is sufficiently high in the FedEx Cup standings that he will certainly advance to the second week of the playoffs, giving him two weeks to shine.

Senden, who openly admits the Presidents Cup is one of his key goals in 2015, is ranked 88th and must hold his own to ensure he makes next week’s 100-strong field.

There are already three Aussies rock solid in the team – No.1 Jason Day, No.2 Adam Scott and No.6 Marc Leishman. Other Aussies in the long-shot category include Matt Jones (16), Cam Smith (17) and Geoff Ogilvy (22).

Ohers in the top 10 are Louis Oosthuizen (3), Hideki Matsuyama (4), Branden Grace (5), Anirban Lahiri (7), Charl Schwartzel (8) and Thongchai Jaidee (9).

The American team is also taking shape with Jordan Spieth its rankings leader from Bubba Watson, Jimmy Walker and Open champ Zach Johnson.

Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Rickie Fowler, Matt Kuchar and Chris Kirk are ranked 5-10, while in-form Bill Haas and J.B. Holmes are on the fringe.

On current rankings, the American team would feature four players — Fowler, Kirk, Walker and Holmes – never to have played in a Presidents Cup, yet all bar Kirk have Ryder Cup experience.

The International and US teams will be finalised on September 8 with captain’s selections.