Here’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 changed to a low of 65 and is tied to start the 2019-20 season, breaking the previous high mark of 84 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in May.
There are 21 golfers, including Shane Lowry, who flew home and had to charter a private jet to get back for his third round tee time (see photo below), Justin Rose and Mark Hubbard, who owe Chris Gotterup big time – at least a thank you note if not a good bottle of wine. When play was suspended on Friday at 8:20 pm due to darkness, seven golfers remained on the course with exactly 65 golfers at 2-under or better and 88 at 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 par to complete a round of 69, while Creel also made par, but was on the wrong side of the cut line at even-par 140.
Gotterup is a hero to 21 players who have weekend plans and a paycheck thanks to his bogey on the last hole. He slept through needing to make a 4-foot bogey to make the cut. He did it and the bogey ultimately meant he signed for a 69 and a 36-hole total of 1-under 139.
That brings us to the sad fate of rookie Austin Smotherman. He entered the week at No. 125 in the FedEx Cup points standings. The hot seat became too hot to handle despite a blistering 65 in the first round. On Friday, he drained oil, 4-over through 16, and faced a 12-foot birdie putt that would have lifted him to 2-under and bounced all players at 1-under when play was suspended.
With his 2022-23 Tour card and FedEx Cup finals hopes hanging in the balance, Smotherman missed the birdie putt when play resumed at 6:47 a.m. Saturday. But thanks to Gotterup’s bogey, all he needed was a par on his last hole to make the cut on the number. It didn’t have to be. Despite finding the fairway on No. 9 with his tee shot, he pushed his approach at the par 4 from 158 yards and missed the green. Shortsided, his pitch ran 33 feet past the hole. Having to make the par putt, he didn’t come up short, but his do-or-die putt rolled 7 feet past the hole. He missed the no-nonsense returner, tapping in for double bogey and a round of 76.
As Max Homa tweeted about Smotherman, “I feel for him. That must be brutal sleeping on that with your season on the line #golf.”
The last time 87 players or more made the 36-hole cut on Tour was at the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship (87). The score of 1-under 139 is the highest 36-hole cut at the Wyndham Championship since 2013.