That’s the number of golfers who survived this week’s 36-hole Wyndham Championship Cup, the regular season finale. It’s the most players to make the cut on the PGA Tour since the cut rule was raised to 65 and tied to start the 2019-20 season, beating the previous high mark of 84 at AT&T Byron. Nelson in May.
There are 21 golfers, including Shane Lowry, who flew home and had to hire a private jet to return for his third round tee (see photo below), Justin Rose and Mark Hubbard, who owe a lot to Chris Gotterup – at least a thank you note if not a good bottle of wine. When play was suspended at 8:20 p.m. Friday 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 determine the cut on Saturday morning when play resumes: Bo Hoag (-3 at 16 holes) Chris Gotterup (-2 at 17 holes) Austin Smotherman (-1 at 16 holes) and Joshua Creel (E at 17 holes).
Hoag parried to complete a round 69, while Creel also parried, but was on the wrong side of the cut line at 140 par.
Gotterup is a hero for 21 players who have weekend plans and payday thanks to his last-hole bogey. He fell asleep needing to bogey 4 feet to make the cut. He did, and the bogey eventually meant he signed for 69 and a 36-hole total of 1-under 139.
Wyndham Championship: PGA Tour live on ESPN+ | Ranking
This brings us to the plight of rookie Austin Smotherman. He entered the week at No. 125 in the FedEx Cup points standings. The hot seat got too hot to handle despite a bogey-free 65 on the first lap. On Friday, he was leaking oil, 4-16, and faced a 12-foot birdie putt that would have taken him to 2 under and bounced all players to 1 under when play was suspended.
With his 2022-23 Tour card and FedEx Cup playoff hopes on the line, 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 last hole to make the cut on the count. It was not to be. Although he found the fairway at No. 9 with his tee shot, he pushed his approach to the par 4 from 158 yards and missed the green. Shorted, his shot ran 33 feet beyond the hole. Having to make the par putt, he was not short, but his do-or-die putt rolled 7 feet beyond the hole. He missed the meaningless return, tapping for a double bogey and a round 76.
As Max Homa tweeted of Smotherman, “I feel for him. Must be brutal sleeping on this with your season on the line #golf.
The last time 87 or more players completed the 36 holes on the circuit was at the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship (87). The 1-under 139 is the highest 36-hole cut at the Wyndham Championship since 2013.
The story originally appeared on GolfWeek