The wild story of how 87 golfers made the cut

eighty seven.

That’s the number of golfers who survived a 36-hole cut in this week’s Wyndham Championship, the regular season final. It’s the most cutbacks on the PGA Tour since the cut-off base changed to 65 lows and ties to start the 2019-20 season, smashing AT&T Byron Nelson’s previous high of 84 in May.

There are 21 golfers, including Shane Lowry, who flew home and needed to charter a private jet to get back in round three tee time (see photo below), Justin Rose and Mark Hubbard, who owe Chris Gottrup a big time — at least thank you note If not a good bottle of wine. When play was suspended Friday at 8:20 p.m. due to darkness, seven players remained on the field with exactly 65 golfers in 2-under or better and 88 in 1-under or better. Four of the remaining players will decide the pieces on Saturday morning when play resumes: Bo Hoag (3-16 holes) Chris Guterop (2-17 holes) Austin Smurman (1-16 holes) and Joshua Creel (17th through).

Hoag made pars to complete Round 69, while Creel was a flop as well, but was on the wrong side of the streak at equal 140.

Gotterup is a champion for 21 players with plans for the weekend and paycheck thanks to his ghost on the last hole. He went to sleep in need of a 4-foot phantom to make the wound. He made it and the bogey at the end meant he landed on 69 and a total of 36 holes from 1 under 139.

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This brings us to the sad fate of apprentice Austin Smotherman. He entered the week in 125th place on the FedEx Cup points standings. The hot seat got too hot to handle despite the stealth-free seat 65 in the first round. On Friday, he’d leak oil, 4-16, and take a 12-foot birdie that would lift him to 2-unders and jump all players at 1-lower when play was suspended.

With the 2022-23 Tour card and FedEx Cup playoff hopes hanging in the balance, Smotherman missed a flying position when play resumed at 6:47 a.m. Saturday. But thanks to the Ghost of Gotterup, all he needs is parity on his last hole to cut the number. It was not to be. Despite finding the pass at #9 with his tee shot, his approach at level 4 pushed him from 158 yards and missed the green. In short, the pitch ran 33 feet behind the hole. Had to make the knockout, he didn’t turn away, but the knockout throw or die rolled 7 feet off the hole. He missed the pointless comeback, taking advantage of the double bogey and Round 76.

As Max Homma tweeted about Smotherman, “I feel for it. You must be hard to sleep on that with your season on the #wolf streak.”

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

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