That’s how many golfers survived the 36-hole cut at this week’s Wyndham Championship, the regular-season finale. It’s the most players to make the cut on the PGA Tour since the cut rule was changed to low 65 and a tie early in the 2019-20 season, breaking the previous high of 84 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in May.
There are 21 golfers, including Shane Lowry, who flew home and had to hire a private jet to return to the tee for his third round (see photo below), Justin Rose and Mark Hubbard, who owe a lot to Chris Gotterup – at least one Thank you if not a good bottle of wine. When play was suspended for darkness at 8:20 p.m. on Friday, seven golfers remained on the course, exactly 65 golfers with 2-under or better and 88 with 1-under or better. Four of the remaining players would determine the cut on Saturday morning when play resumed: Bo Hoag (-3 to 16 holes) Chris Gotterup (-2 to 17 holes) Austin Smotherman (-1 to 16 holes) and Joshua Creel (E to 17 holes).
Hoag made pars to complete a round of 69 while Creel also parried but was on the wrong side of the cutline with a straight par 140.
Gotterup is a hero to 21 players with weekend plans and a paycheck thanks to his last-hole bogey. He went to sleep and had to do a 4-foot bogey to make the cut. He made it and the final bogey meant he signed for 69 and a 36-hole total of 1-in-139.
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Which brings us to the sad fate of rookie Austin Smotherman. He entered the week ranked 125th in the FedEx Cup points standings. The hot seat got too hot to handle despite a bogey-free 65 on the first lap. On Friday, he lost oil, 4-over to 16, and faced a 12-foot birdie putt that would have lifted him to 2-under and rebounded all players on 1-under when play was halted.
With his 2022-23 Tour card and FedEx Cup playoff hopes at stake, Smotherman missed the birdie putt when play resumed at 6:47 a.m. Saturday. But thanks to Gotterup’s bogey, it only took him a par on his last hole to cut the number. It should not be. Although his tee shot found the fairway at #9, he pushed his approach to the par 4 from 158 yards and missed the green. On the short side, his pitch ran 33 feet past the hole. He didn’t come up short when he had to make the par putt, but his do-or-die putt rolled 7 feet off the hole. He missed the meaningless comebacker and typed in for double bogey and a round of 76.
As Max Homa tweeted about Smotherman, “I feel for him. That must be brutal to sleep on while your season is on the #golf line.”
The last time 87 or more players made the 36-hole cut on the tour was at the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship (87). The 1-under-139 score is the highest 36-hole average at the Wyndham Championship since 2013.
Story originally appeared on GolfWeek