Robesonian

McGirt helps playoff case with finish at Wyndham Championship

GREENSBORO — William McGirt did what he came to the Wyndham Championship to do.

The Fairmont native wanted to earn some last-minute FedEx Cup points to set himself up to make it to possibly the first two events in the PGA Tour’s playoff series, something he has done every year since being on Tour. With his tie for 57th finish at the tournament at 6-under-par, McGirt earned five FedEx points to move from 112th to 109th, while also claiming $13,140 in earnings.

“I felt like I played OK last week. Never could really get anything going,” McGirt told The Robesonian. “I didn’t drive it great but it seemed like when I hit some good tee shots they still found the rough or, even worse, in a divot. That made it a lot tougher to get the ball close to the hole. I felt like I putted well but didn’t make much. I burned the edge all week it seemed like.”

The top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings make the playoff’s first event, the Northern Trust, and then the field is trimmed down to the remaining 100 at the Dell Technologies Championship held at TPC Boston.

“I feel like my game is ready for a playoff push though,” he said. “My goal is still to delay surgery because if I make the Tour Championship and qualify for The Masters. I feel pretty good about making the playoffs considering the rough stretch from March through July battling my hip. I found a way to play around it and hope to continue to improve.”

McGirt posted three rounds under par to start off the tournament, and used a 70 on Sunday to lock in his finish. Starting on the back nine, McGirt dropped a shot on No. 11, before getting it back with a birdie on No. 16. After making the turn, McGirt bogeyed the fourth hole, and followed it up with a birdie on the fifth hole.

The course provided challenges all week for McGirt and his hip that is in need of surgery.

“Sedgefield was one of the hardest courses for me all year because of the number of uneven lies in the fairways,” McGirt said. “Having the ball below my feet has been a struggle for me because I can’t clear my hips on the downswing but I was able to fight through it and make the cut.”

Brandt Snedeker won the tournament at 21 under as he began the Wyndham Championship with history — and ended it with a victory.

Snedeker earned his ninth PGA Tour title Sunday, three days after opening with an 11-under 59.

He closed with a 65 for a three-stroke victory in the regular-season finale, breaking a tie with C.T. Pan on the final hole with a birdie and Pan’s double bogey in the group ahead.

Snedeker finished at 21-under 259 for his first win since 2016 and his second at the tournament, but first at Sedgefield Country Club, to close what he called “the most stressful week I’ve ever had in professional golf.”

“Shooting 59 on Thursday, your expectations go through the roof,” Snedeker said, also expressing pride that he could “cap it off the way we did today, to play pretty much a flawless round of golf.”

Pan shot a 66 to tie for second with Webb Simpson. Simpson matched his career-best with a 62.

“I feel like it was a round I needed to make a push to the leaderboard,” Simpson said. “Brandt’s obviously had a great week … so I knew it was going to take something super low.”

Snedeker opened the tournament with the 59 that made him the first tour player this year and just the 10th ever to break 60, then on the final day played 29 holes at 5 under to seal it. He’s the fifth tour player to shoot in the 50s and then win the tournament.

He was never in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in his career, but the victory gave him a huge jump on the points list. He climbed 50 spots to No. 30 on the list, after arriving at 80th — which would have been his lowest finish.

“To be perfectly frank, I didn’t have any chance at all” to win the FedEx Cup before this week, the 2012 playoff champion said. “After this week, I feel like I have a chance.”

For a while, it looked like it might come down to a playoff between Pan and Snedeker, who were even at 20 under entering Pan’s final hole.

But the 26-year-old from Taiwan ran into big trouble: Pan shanked his tee shot out of bounds off a cart path down the right side of the fairway and needed four shots, including the penalty stroke, to reach the green on the par 4.

Pan said he heard “a couple noises in my head which caused me to hit a bad shot.

“It’s my fault. I can learn something from it,” he said. “I only played one bad hole, which is fine. You know, I’ve still got a lot of golf left.”

With the victory seemingly inevitable at that point, Snedeker sank a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th to end it, making him the 10th player to win in Greensboro multiple times. His victory here in 2007 was the first of his career, and this time he finished one stroke shy of Henrik Stenson’s year-old tournament record.

“Wanting so desperately to win this tournament, it was just a lot of emotion this week,” he said.

McGirt
https://www.robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_WilliamMcGirt201711171617549852018327115717401_ne2018725142044838-6.jpgMcGirt
Snedeker goes from 59 to champion

By Jonathan Bym

Sports editor

The Associated Press contributed with this report. Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at jbym@robesonian.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.