Pieters halfway to special temporary Tour status


LOS ANGELES – Anyone who watched Thomas Pieters’ performance at last year’s Ryder Cup wouldn’t be surprised his ultimate goal is to play the PGA Tour, as well as the European circuit.

What may have been a surprise was how quickly the 25-year-old, who went 3-1-0 at Hazeltine National last fall, is closing in on his transatlantic plan.

In his first Tour start of 2017, Pieters closed with a 63 at the Genesis Open, a round that included back-to-back birdies to finish his week, to tie for second place. That gives Pieters about half the points (245) he needs to earn special temporary status on Tour, which would virtually assure his status for 2018.

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“Ideally I want to play here until May and then go back to Europe and play the events I want to play,” said Pieters, who plans to play next week’s Honda Classic followed by the WGC-Mexico Championship.

Pieters said that even if he were to earn a PGA Tour card he will keep his same schedule this year.

“I love playing in Europe," he said. "It will just make my schedule a little bit easier next year I think."