OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. – The lowest changeover since 2007, the first year of the PGA Tour’s playoff, highlighted this year’s first postseason stop.
Just three players, compared to two in ’07, played their way inside the top 100 and into the field for next week’s Dell Technologies Championship with solid performances at The Northern Trust.
Bubba Watson, David Lingmerth and Harold Varner III began the week outside the top 100, but kept their playoff hopes alive for one more week.
“Obviously it's pretty fun when you're playing well. But to keep moving on, have another opportunity,” Varner said. “I don't want it to end. So I just need to keep doing the things I'm doing right now and just focus.”
Varner closed with an even-par 70 to move to 91st on the points list, and become just the fifth player to move from outside the number starting at last week’s Wyndham Championship (138th), where he tied for 10th place, and advance to the second playoff stop.
Watson’s play at Glen Oaks was even more impressive, with the left-hander finishing in a tie for 10th place to move to 72nd on the points list after starting the week 113th.
Lingmerth’s day wasn’t nearly as stress-free. After starting the week at 103rd in points he had a cushion going into the final round that quickly evaporated with a double bogey-6 at No. 5 followed by bogeys at Nos. 6, 7 and 8 to move to 99th on the projected list.
Lingmerth rallied on the closing nine with birdies at Nos. 11 and 12 and finished with a 73 to tie for 29th place and move to 87th on the points list.
“I guess it's pleasing but I'm a little disappointed that it got to that point because really, played pretty solid this week,” Lingmerth said. “Obviously I'm happy I dug in today, and I have a chance to make something happen next week.”
Martin Flores was projected to move into the top 100 after opening with rounds of 67-73-69, but he struggled on Sunday to a 73 and finished 103rd on the points list.
On the other side of the playoff bubble, Byeong Hun An, Robert Garrigus and Seung-Yul Noh, who all missed the cut, dropped out of the top 100 and failed to advance to TPC Boston.