FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – They will likely be extras in a Sunday play that has evolved into a one-man show, but Harold Varner III and Jazz Janewattananond will have plenty of motivation at the PGA Championship.
For Varner, this will be the first time he’s been in the final group on Sunday at a major and will be a valuable learning experience despite a seven-stroke deficit to start his day alongside front-runner Brooks Koepka.
“It's a great opportunity. It's going to be a great day no matter what happens,” said Varner, who was tied for second place with Janewattananond, Dustin Johnson and Luke List. “This is what you practice for, and obviously I'm super excited.”
For Janewattananond (which is pronounced JANNA-watta-NON-nond), Sunday’s final round is a potentially career-changing opportunity.
The PGA Championship is Janewattananond’s fourth start in a PGA Tour event, and his second start in a major, and a solid finish would give the 23-year-old from Thailand valuable world ranking points and an opportunity to expand his presence on Tour.
The top-15 finishers on Sunday earn invitations to next year’s PGA Championship and the top 4 earn a spot in next year’s Masters.
That’s a dramatic turnaround for Janewattananond whose expectations were not very high when he played his first practice round at Bethpage Black on Monday.
“Monday, it was raining. Tuesday was raining. The course plays so tough because the rough was so long, the ball don't go anywhere,” he said. “I was having a nightmare. How am I going to play this golf course? I'm not going to break 80. This exceed my expectations already.”