Reifers, Nitties highlight drama


Kyle Reifers on Sunday made an unorthodox par on 18 to move into 25th place on the Tour money list and secure his 2014-15 PGA Tour card. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The final round of the Tour’s Portland Open had a distinctly Q-school feel. 

Rookie Carlos Ortiz won for the third time to become fully exempt on the PGA Tour next season, but a more intriguing race played out further down the leaderboard.

This was the last regular-season event on the developmental circuit, and the top 25 players on the money list after Sunday received their PGA Tour card for the 2014-15 season. Perhaps even more important, the top 75 on the money list (along with Nos. 126-200 in FedEx Cup points) are exempt into the Tour Finals, the four-tournament series that begins next week and will dole out another 25 cards. 

Kyle Reifers had a starring role in the drama Sunday at Pumpkin Ridge. Beginning the week No. 28 on the money list, he was inside the top 10 through 54 holes in Portland and in ideal position to secure his playing privileges for next season. But in the final round, he made five bogeys through 16 holes before stuffing a wedge to kick-in range on 17. Going for the par-5 18th in two shots, he blocked his long iron way right, into the trees, but it somehow kicked out into the middle of the fairway. From there, he safely found the green and two-putted for par to sit 25th – by about $1,500 - over No. 26 Sebastian Cappelen, who went 68-78 to miss the 36-hole cut.

Reifers was the only player to move inside the top 25 during the final regular-season event.

James Nitties, meanwhile, needed a good finish just to give himself a chance to play the Tour next season. Entering the week 97th in earnings, Nitties finished in a tie for fifth after a 12-foot par putt on the final hole. That was enough to move him to No. 70 on the money list.

The top 25 on the money list earn their cards and, new this year, will carry their earnings into the finals – a reward for their season-long play. An additional 25 cards (and priority ranking) will be determined during the Finals.

The Tour Finals begin next week in Fort Wayne, Ind., and wrap up at the Sept. 18-21 Tour Championship at TPC Sawgrass.  

Here are the 25 players who have already secured their 2014-15 PGA Tour cards:

• Carlos Ortiz

• Andrew Putnam

• Zack Sucher

• Adam Hadwin

• Justin Thomas

• Alex Cejka

• Blayne Barber

• Tony Finau

• Jason Gore

• Steven Alker

•Andres Gonzales

• Jon Curran

• Derek Fathauer

• Cameron Percy

• Daniel Berger

• Jonathan Randolph

• Max Homa

• Mark Hubbard

• Steve Wheatcroft

• Ryan Armour

• Byron Smith

• Bill Lunde

• Fabian Gomez

• Roger Sloan

• Kyle Reifers