Season-ending Disney event marks last shot for players to earn their 2013 Tour cards
Brendon de Jonge has spent his Fall Series with one eye on the money list -- he's up to 39th -- and the other on the 2013 Masters, which would be his first if he can get into the top 30 when the 2012 season officially ends at the Children's Miracle Network Classic at Disney this Sunday. Things are looking up: The husky Zimbabwean has finished second and T4 in his last two starts. He also tied for fourth at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, but it was an unofficial event.
"I've come quite close," de Jonge said of his 2010 season, when he earned $2.17 million and finished 34th on the money list. "Now I really want to get there."
The storylines always get a little obscure at the PGA Tour's final official tournament of the season, the birdie fest/accounting seminar that is Disney, which comes after a two-week break in the Tour schedule in which the top players like Rory, Tiger and Phil teed it up for unofficial money in Asia. At Disney, the focus will be on players who need not only use their last names but also some form of ID. These are the desperate, needy souls hovering around the 125th spot on the money list, the last spot that comes with fully exempt status on Tour in 2013.
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Rod Pampling, Billy Mayfair, Trevor Immelman and Gary Christian -- Nos. 124-127, respectively -- are separated by less than $5,000. Gulp.
"I've played very solid for a lot of tournaments, made a lot of cuts, and unfortunately your brain goes to kind of what you've been doing at the moment, recently, which has not been terribly good," said Christian, an Englishman who played for Auburn, and who at 42 is a rookie on the PGA Tour. "So you just gotta get back to telling yourself how good you are, how good you've played."
James Driscoll and Boo Weekley, Nos. 120 and 121, respectively, can relate. Heading into the Disney, they must both tell themselves they're coming off a T27 finish at the McGladrey Classic on Oct. 21, lest they dwell on a spate of missed cuts -- six in the last eight starts for Driscoll, four in five starts for Weekley.
Justin Leonard is 138th on the money list, but the 40-year-old, 12-time Tour winner has finished second at Disney in two of the last three years.
Davis Love III is in no danger of losing his card, and his 20 Tour wins give him full status for life anyway, but as AP golf writer Doug Ferguson points out, Love needs to win just $26,293 to eclipse $1 million for the 18th straight season. Coming off a T4 at the McGladrey Classic, an event he hosted, he's no doubt more focused on what would be his 21st victory-and his first since the 2008 Disney.
McIlroy heads up strong field at Singapore Open
Rory McIlroy is in line to win the PGA and Euro tour money titles in the same year, as Luke Donald did in 2011, and clearly wants to hit the rare double. Although the second through fifth players on the Euro money list aren't in the field for Singapore, McIlroy, the leader, is. He'll also be in Hong Kong next week.
(Related Photos: Rory McIlroy's 2012 Season in Review)
"I've had a good run in the last couple of weeks," said McIlroy, who beat Tiger Woods in a two-man exhibition in China, and finished second by a shot to Peter Hanson at the BMW Masters in Shanghai. "And it would be nice to go to Dubai with a healthy lead. It's good to know that if I play halfway decent in my remaining tournaments, I can win the money lists in Europe and the U.S."
(The European tour's season-ending DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai will be Nov. 22-25.)
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Phil Mickelson, Louis Oosthuizen and three-time Singapore Open champ Adam Scott also figure to contend this week on the watery, par-72 Serapong Course at Sentosa G.C. "I've had a really tough three or four [summer] months, when I played some of the worst golf in my career," said Mickelson, coming off a T2 at the WGC-HSBC Champions. "It's turning out to be one of the best things that have happened for me because it forced me to analyze my game and dissect it and put each part back."
Short game: The LPGA heads to Guadalajara, Mexico, for the 36-player Lorena Ochoa Invitational presented by Banamex and Jalisco. Catriona Matthew is the fifth-year tournament's defending champion... In election news, Luke Guthrie, Russell Henley and Casey Wittenberg have been nominated by the Web.com Tour Player Advisory Council for 2012 Player of the Year. The winner of the award, which is voted on by the players, will be announced in December.