After a lengthy absence Victorian Geoff Ogilvy will return to the majors next year.
Ogilvy ensured he would play in the Masters, the first grand slam event of 2015, after taking a share of 36th in the BMW Championship at Cherry Hills in Colorado at the weekend – the second last of the US Tour’s play-off events.
World No.2 Adam Scott, injured Queenslander Jason Day and John Senden all qualified for the rich US PGA Tour Championship – but Stuart Appleby has desperately fallen one spot short after a recent dynamic return to form.
American Billy Horschel won the Cherry Hills tournament by two shots at 14-under the card. He beat Masters Champion Bubba Watson by two, with another American, Morgan Hoffman, clinching third after a barnstorming final round 63.
Scott finished tied for eighth at eight under par to be the best performing Australian.
The Tour Championship finale at East Lake in Atlanta is restricted to the top 30 on the FedEx points table.
The winner of the event banks a massive $US10 million bonus but just making the field means a player can line up in next year’s Masters as well as the US and British Opens.
Appleby was on the cusp of making the field in Atlanta after a late triple bogey by Canadian Graham DeLaet but Hoffman proceeded to eagle the 17th hole to effectively push Appleby down to 31st on the list.
"It is disappointing but no regrets," Appleby told AAP.
"At least now next year I will be playing pro-ams again, getting a look at courses more, and hopefully heading in the right direction."
Ogilvy, who finished 25th on the points list, will be back at Augusta next year for the first time since 2011.
"Somehow I managed to not fall over this week," Ogilvy said. "I’m pretty tired. The altitude wears you out and this many tournaments in a row also wears you out so it’s great to be back next week and back at Augusta next year.
"To be honest I’m not 100 per cent excited about playing golf next week, but I’m really excited about what making the Tour Championship does for me.
"It’s the best exemption in this sport, outside of a big win."
Day qualified 10th but had to withdraw from the BMW after suffering a back injury and is under a cloud this week.
Scott finished in 12th spot and Senden 17th but the season finished for their compatriots Marc Leishman, Matt Jones and Steven Bowditch.
Day, who pulled out after nine holes of the second round, first injured his back in the Wednesday pro-am and carried the problem into the opening round.
He decided to play in the second round after an MRI cleared him of serious damage but the effort proved too much and, after hitting his approach on the ninth hole, the Queenslander walked off.
Day said while he had been struggling at three-over on his round he had decided to try to use the weekend as recuperative time for next week’s tour championship.
"I am extremely disappointed to have to pull out of this event," Day said.
"I will be getting treatment over the next few days and hopefully be ready for the Tour Championship."
Day entered the penultimate play-off event at seventh on the points list but could drop as low as 15th ahead of Atlanta.
The Queenslander said his injury was normal stress.
"The MRI came back clear. I just have some stiffness and soreness. I guess you could just say it is golfer’s back," he said.
"It turns out my legs are too strong for my core and it is adding stress to my back, so I really have to strengthen my core over the off season to try and lessen the impact."
Day has battled problems since he suffered a thumb injury while winning the WGC-Match Play Championship in February.
He played in just four tournaments over the next five months, with throat infections also compounding his issues.
Then, when he finally returned to full practice at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in early August, Day was hit by vertigo.
In the last month he took a share of 15th at the US PGA Championship, a second place at the opening play-off tournament and seventh at the second event before being struck by the latest injury.
By: Robert Grant