The wild story of how 87 golfers made the cut at the Wyndham Championship

The wild story of how 87 golfers made the cut at the Wyndham Championship

Eighty seven.

That’s how many golfers survived the 36-hole cut at this week’s Wyndham Championship, the regular-season finale. It is the most players to make the cut on the PGA Tour since the cut rule changed to a low 65 and tie to start the 2019-20 season, breaking the previous high mark of 84 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in May.

There are 21 golfers, including Shane Lowry, who flew home and needed to charter a private jet to get back to his third-round tee time (see photo below), Justin Rose and Mark Hubbard, who owe Chris Gotterup a lot — at least one thank you note if not a good bottle of wine. When play was suspended Friday at 8:20 p.m. due to darkness, seven golfers remained on the course with exactly 65 golfers at 2-under or better and 88 at 1-under or better. Four of the remaining players would decide the cut on Saturday morning when play resumed: Bo Hoag (-3 through 16 holes) Chris Gotterup (-2 through 17 holes) Austin Smotherman (-1 through 16 holes) and Joshua Creel (E through 17 holes).

Hoag made par to complete a round of 69, while Creel also parred in but was on the wrong side of the cutline at even-par 140.

Gotterup is a hero to 21 players who have weekend plans and a paycheck thanks to his bogey on the final hole. He went dormant and had to make a 4-foot bogey to make the cut. He managed it and the bogey on the last meant he signed for 69 and a 36-hole total of 1 under 139.

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That brings us to the sad fate of rookie Austin Smotherman. He entered the week ranked No. 125 in the FedEx Cup points standings. The hot seat became too hot to handle despite a bogey-free 65 in the first round. On Friday, he was leaking oil, 4-over through 16, and faced a 12-foot birdie putt that would have lifted him to 2-under and bounced out all the players at 1-under when play was suspended.

With his 2022-23 Tour card and FedEx Cup playoff hopes hanging in the balance, Smotherman missed the birdie putt when play resumed at 6:47 a.m. Saturday. But thanks to Gotterup’s bogey, all he needed was a par on his final hole to make the cut at the number. It wasn’t to be. Despite finding the fairway on No. 9 with his tee shot, he pushed his approach on the par 4 from 158 yards and missed the green. On the short side, his fairway ran 33 feet past the hole. When he had to make the par putt, he didn’t fall short, but his do-or-die putt rolled 7 feet past the hole. He missed the pointless comebacker, chipping in for double bogey and a round of 76.

As Max Homa tweeted about Smotherman, “I feel for him. Must be brutal sleeping on it with your season on the #golfline.”

The last time 87 players or more made the 36-hole cut on Tour was at the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship (87). The score of 1-under 139 is the highest 36-hole cut at the Wyndham Championship since 2013.

This story originally appeared on GolfWeek

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