After shooting the round of his life to preserve his PGA Tour status, Canadian golfer Nick Taylor chose to mark the achievement with a modest celebration.
He and his wife, Andie – who just turned 30 – went to Wendy’s for ice cream.
“It was a roller coaster week, let alone day,” Taylor, from Abbotsford, B.C., said in a phone interview. “We were just so exhausted.”
A winner on the PGA Tour in 2014, Taylor was outside the top-125 on the FedEx Cup standings going into last week at the Wyndham Championship. His 7-under-par 63 Sunday (his low round of the year) helped move him to 119th. That allows him to pick and choose his schedule on the PGA Tour next year.
“I knew just making the cut and getting to the weekend wasn’t what I needed,” said Taylor. “I needed a top-25 finish at minimum. I feel like that helped me. If I just tried to make the cut I might have been a little tighter and a little more defensive.”
Taylor said his season was an interesting one. He had three straight top-25 finishes in the first three events, but through March and into May he missed six straight cuts. He began working with new swing coach Mark McCann in May after The Players Championship and things have turned around favourably since.
“There was a different eye and different opinion and that helped,” said Taylor. “It kind of saved the season.”
Taylor will now play The Northern Trust at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey, the first FedEx Cup playoff event. Fellow Abbotsford golfer Adam Hadwin, who was 70th in the FedEx Cup standings, is also in the field.
Taylor said he feels like he’s got “nothing to lose” this week.
“I’m playing with house money a little bit,” he said. “I’m still trying to win and move on, but definitely not as much pressure as last week.”
Corey Conners of Listowel, Ont., Ben Silverman of Thornhill, Ont., and David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., finished outside the top 125 and will play the four-tournament Web.com Tour finals to try to improve on their PGA Tour status for next year.
Conners (130th), Silverman (136th), and Hearn (138th) will play out of the category for golfers 126-150 on the FedEx Cup standings and have partial status.
Hearn was in that category this season and still played 21 tournaments.
Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., finished 185th on the FedEx Cup standings but will start next year on a major medical exemption after having back surgery on August 3.
DeLaet’s agent, Danny Fritz, said in an email to The Canadian Press “all went well” and he is “resting and on the road to recovery.”
Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ont., is fully exempt next year after his win at The RSM Classic in 2016.
SVENSSON EARNS PGA TOUR CARD
Despite missing the cut at the WinCo Foods Portland Open, the final event of the Web.com Tour season, Adam Svensson earned his PGA Tour card Sunday.
Svensson, of Surrey B.C., won the second event of the year on the feeder circuit to the PGA Tour and never looked back. He finished 14th on the money list. The top 25 money-earners at the end of the season earn PGA Tour cards.
“It’s been a great year,” said Svensson. “Obviously not the ending I wanted, missing the cut, but I’m happy. Any time you get a PGA Tour card, and this is my first one I’m pretty thrilled about that.”
Svensson will also play in the Web.com Tour finals to try to improve his status for next year.
Ryan Yip of Calgary and Roger Sloan of Meritt, B.C. will round out the six-golfer Canadian contingent at the Web.com Tour finals after finishing 67th and 49th, respectively, on the money list.
HENDERSON ON A ROLL
It was a great time for Brooke Henderson’s best round of the year.
The native of Smiths Falls, Ont., fired a 9-under-par 63 Sunday at the Indy Women in Tech Championship on the LPGA Tour. She finished tied for seventh, her eighth top-10 finish of the year.
Henderson has now earned US$945,881 on the season.
She looks to become the first Canadian since Jocelyne Bourassa in 1973 to win the CP Women’s Open on home soil when she tees it up this week at Wascana Country Club in Regina.
She finished tied for 12th a year ago in Ottawa, her best-career result at the national championship.
SOLID FINISH FOR JAMES
Augusta James had her best result of her Symetra Tour career Sunday.
The native of Bath, Ont. fired a 6-under-par 66 Sunday at the Firekeepers Casino Hotel Championship in Michigan to finish runner-up. It was James’ second top-3 result in three weeks.
She’s 28th on the money list of the Symtera Tour, the feeder circuit to the LPGA Tour.
The top 10 on the money list at the end of the year earn LPGA Tour cards.
CANADIANS AT LPGA Q-SCHOOL
There will be 15 Canadians in action at the CP Women’s Open this week, but the field won’t include two of Canada’s brightest collegiate golf stars.
Both Maddie Szeryk and Jaclyn Lee are teeing it up at First Stage of the LPGA Tour’s Qualifying School instead.
Szeryk had a solid final year at Texas A&M University, winning twice and notching a top-20 at the NCAA National Championship.
Lee made a big run up the leaderboard at the NCAA National Championship as well in her final year at Ohio State University, where she finished tied for fifth. She was part of the winning team at the Big Ten Championship.
Both Szeryk and Lee are longtime members of Golf Canada’s National Team.