748th-ranked Wilkinson could be headed to Olympics


CHARLOTTE, N.C. – With less than 100 days before the Olympics begin some may think it’s getting late early, as New York Yankee great Yogi Berra once opined, for those who are not qualified for the Games.

But the mathematical reality is that all a player needs is one big week. Look no further than Tim Wilkinson, who charged up the Wells Fargo Championship leaderboard with a third-round 70 and is tied for sixth place just three shots off the lead.

The 748th-ranked New Zealander isn’t even currently among the four alternates for the Olympics, but a victory on Sunday would move him into one of the qualifying spots; and a second-place finish would move the 37-year-old into the first alternate spot for Rio.

“It’s not something I’ve thought about too much. I had a horrible year last year and slipped down [the World Golf Ranking] a long way,” he said. “But good play and get yourself in it would be a bonus. It would be a great honor to play for your country.”

Wilkinson, who hasn’t posted a top-10 finish since 2014 on Tour, also has added motivation this week. The Jacksonville Beach, Fla., resident could qualify for next week’s Players Championship with a victory at Quail Hollow Club.