GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Not much has gone right for Carl Pettersson in the 12 months since he won his adopted hometown’s tournament.
If he doesn’t put together another strong weekend at the final event of golf’s regular season, his rough year will end a few weeks early.
The native Swede who calls North Carolina home returns to the site of his only victory since 2006 to defend his title at the Wyndham Championship, where he’s on the board of directors.
“I’ve played some good rounds (and) if I had better confidence in myself, I probably would have shot one or two shots better each day,” Pettersson said Wednesday.
“This game’s all about confidence, and if you feel like you’re going to do well, you probably are going to do well. I feel like my game’s turning around, and it just takes time to get that spring back in your step.”
Pettersson moved to North Carolina as a boy, attended high school in Greensboro, played collegiately at North Carolina State and lives a 90-minute drive away in Raleigh.
He put together quite the feel-good local story last August at the Donald Ross-designed course at Sedgefield Country Club, leading almost all of the final two rounds, following his tournament-record 61 in the third round with a 68 to lock up a two-stroke victory that was his first – and only – since the 2006 Memorial.
He hasn’t finished in the top 10 since.
His best result this year was his first, when he was 17th at the Mercedez-Benz Championship in January. He missed the cut in 14 of the 23 tournaments he’s played since then while failing to reach the weekend in eight consecutive events during a two-month stretch from March to May. He missed the cut at last week’s PGA Championship by one stroke.
Without a strong finish at the Wyndham, Pettersson will find himself out of the FedEx Cup field. He’s in 151st place, 74 points behind No. 125 Andres Romero, who isn’t playing this week.
“It hasn’t been the greatest this year, but I felt like the last couple of weeks, I’ve played pretty solid,” Pettersson said. “I feel like my game’s turning around.”
He isn’t the only one looking for a last-gasp points boost before the playoffs start next week at The Barclays in New Jersey.
Among the notable players entering the weekend near the bubble are No. 115 Sergio Garcia, whose postseason run last year included second-place finishes in playoffs to Vijay Singh at The Barclays and Camilo Villegas at the Tour Championship, and Charles Warren, who enters at No. 124.
“It’s not like you’re going to change your game plan or hit a shot differently or anything like that,” Warren said. “It’s just, at the end of the week, not only trying to lobby to stay inside the top 125, you need to work on your seeding going into the deal just so you can hopefully try to keep getting it going, because … if I play OK this weekend and I end up at 124 and don’t play great on Sunday, I’m going to wish I played better.”
Lucas Glover certainly doesn’t have to worry about any of that.
At No. 5 on the points list, the U.S. Open champion is the highest-ranked player in the Wyndham field. Instead, the Clemson graduate is back in the heart of Atlantic Coast Conference country looking to accomplish something else – impressing Fred Couples as he mulls possible captain’s picks for the President’s Cup.
“Anyone who can cruise through (Sedgefield) and play well will get another look,” Couples said.
Being picked “means you had a pretty good year or a pretty good couple of years,” Glover said. “I think I’ve done a pretty good job the last couple of months, but we’ve got a few weeks where we’ve got to keep playing hard. The goal’s to keep winning golf tournaments, but in the back of my mind, at the same time, you want to play well for that, as well.”