With this week’s Wyndham Championship being the final event before the FedEx Cup playoffs begin, making that magical top 125 on the points list is crucial. That’s how many golfers qualify for the playoffs — and automatically retain their playing privileges for next season.
Power, a former East Tennessee State All-American, enters this week ranked 144th.
Last year, Power missed the cut at the Wyndham and figured his chances of making the top 125 were finished as he drove from Greensboro, North Carolina, to his home in Charlotte.
By the end of the weekend — aided by a couple of bogeys from Sergio Garcia on Sunday’s back nine — he was back in the top 125 and set for another season with the big boys.
The year before, he just missed out on the FedEx Cup playoffs but earned his way back onto the PGA Tour through the season-ending Web.com Tour finals.
This year, he can’t afford to miss the cut at the Wyndham or he’ll have to take that route again. The players ranked 126-200 on the FedEx Cup list next week qualify for the Korn Ferry Tour (formerly Web.com) finals, where they will join the top 75 players from that tour. The top 25 after three tournaments will also earn PGA Tour cards.
Power begins the Wyndham Championship on Thursday at 8:20 a.m. He is playing with Rory Sabatini and Brandon Harkins.
Power, who graduated from ETSU with a degree in accounting, has won $760,832 this year, bringing his three-year PGA Tour total to $2,198,030.
STATE AM QUALIFYING
Andrew Spiegler, of Abingdon, was the medalist at the local qualifier for the Tennessee State Amateur, held Wednesday at Blackthorn Club.
Spiegler shot a 4-under-par 68 to claim top honors by one stroke over Jonesborough’s Alex Bradford and Knoxville’s Scott Kammann.
Twenty golfers competed for four spots in the State Am and Tory Davis won a playoff over Ben Reeves for the final berth. Reeves and Chance Taylor are the first and second alternates.
The State Am is scheduled for Aug. 6-9 at The Honors Course in Ooltewah.
GREEN QUALIFIES AGAIN
Tony Green has made a habit of qualifying for U.S. Golf Association events.
The Kingsport resident is headed to the U.S. Senior Amateur thanks to a fine qualifying round of 71 at Biltmore Forrest Country Club in Asheville, North Carolina.
Green finished tied for second in a field of 113 golfers. The top six earned spots in the biggest tournament in senior amateur golf.
It will be Green’s fifth USGA event. He’s played in two U.S. Senior Opens in addition to two U.S. Senior Amateurs.
“It’s a concentration thing,” the 67-year-old Green said. “You have to stay in focus. That’s the hardest part. They set them up extremely hard.”
The U.S. Senior Amateur is set for Aug. 24-29 at Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham, North Carolina.
Green last played in the Senior Amateur in 2011 when he made match play and advanced to the round of 16 before losing in 19 holes to the defending champion.
“I’d just like to go back and play well again,” he said. “First of all, you have to try to get into match play and then win some matches. I hope I can build on what I did last time.”
VAN DER BIEST, USGA
Another Kingsport resident has had some USGA success of her own this year.
Isabella van der Biest, the reigning high school state champion for Dobyns-Bennett, made the second round of match play at the U.S. Girls’ Junior last week. The event, played at SentryWorld in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, featured 156 of the best junior girl golfers from all over the world. Only 32 won at least one match after two rounds of stroke play qualifying.
It was Van der Biest’s second successful USGA event of the summer. Earlier, she made the round of 16 in the U.S. Women’s Four-Ball Championship, teaming with Sophia Burnett of Bluffton, South Carolina, to win two matches.
Van der Biest, about to begin her junior year at D-B, has committed to play collegiately at Alabama.
LONG DRIVE RETURNS
Cattails at MeadowView is preparing to play host to the world’s biggest hitters once again when the World Long Drive tour pays a visit.
The Tennessee Big Shots benefiting Niswonger Children’s Hospital event is scheduled for Aug. 10-12 and admission is free.
Last year’s competition drew a large and rowdy crowd, which helped create an electric atmosphere for when the finals were televised on Golf Channel. The finals will be on TV again this year, Monday Aug. 12, at 6 p.m.