In a year without a direct path to the PGA Tour, Will Gordon may have found a side door.
A little more than a year ago, Gordon was playing for Vanderbilt, where he was once the SEC Player of the Year. But Sunday he was contending against the game's best, making the most of a sponsor's exemption at the Travelers Championship. Gordon played his way into the mix with a second-round 62, and he closed with a 64 that gave him a share of third place along with Mackenzie Hughes.
In addition to a six-figure payday, Gordon's finish earned him special temporary membership on the PGA Tour. He had had some success in other spot starts this season, including a T-10 finish at the RSM Classic and a T-21 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open.
"I knew something in the top five would maybe have a chance," Gordon said. "I knew the higher the better, so I was watching the leaderboard coming in. I knew if I got up there, T-1, T-2 by the end of 18 holes, that I might finish in the top three."
STM status now means the 23-year-old can accept unlimited sponsor invites through the rest of the season as he looks to earn a PGA Tour card for the 2020-21 season. With the Korn Ferry Tour in a wraparound season through 2021 and Korn Ferry Finals and Q-School both canceled, Gordon's path to the main stage for next year is narrow: He must earn as many non-member FedExCup points as whoever finishes No. 125 on the points list this season.
It's a bit of a moving target, but Gordon now has 296 non-member points to his credit. That would currently rank him 79th on Tour, sandwiched between Kevin Kisner and Matthew Fitzpatrick.