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

Eighty-seven.

That’s the number of golfers who survived the 36-hole cutoff at this week’s Wyndham Championship, the finale of the regular season. It’s the most players to make the cut on the PGA Tour since the cutoff rule changed to 65 and ties to start the 2019-20 season, breaking the previous 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 big time, at least a thank you note if not a nice bottle of wine. When play was called off Friday at 8:20 pm 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 resumed: Bo Hoag (-3 to 16 holes) Chris Gotterup (-2 to 17 holes) Austin Smotherman (-1 to 16 holes) and Joshua Creel (E to 17 holes).

Hoag made pars to complete a round of 69, while Creel also pared but was on the wrong side of the cutoff line at par 140.

Gotterup is a hero for 21 players who have weekend plans and a salary thanks to his bogey on the last hole. He went to sleep needing to bogey 4 feet to make the cut. He did 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 at No. 125 in the FedEx Cup points standings. The hot seat got too hot to handle despite a bogey-free 65 in the first round. On Friday, he was losing oil, 4-for-16, and facing a 12-foot birdie putt that would have lifted him to 2-under and ejected all 1-under players when play was suspended.

With his 2022-23 Tour card and FedEx Cup playoff hopes in the balance, Smotherman missed the birdie putt as 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 number. It was not so. Despite finding the fairway at No. 9 with his tee shot, he pushed his approach into the par-4 from 158 yards and missed the green. In short, his pitch ran 33 feet beyond the hole. Having to putt for par, he didn’t come up short, but his do-or-die putt rolled 7 feet past the hole. He missed the pointless comeback, taking advantage of double bogey and a round of 76.

As Max Homa tweeted about Smotherman: “I feel sorry for him. Gotta be brutal sleeping on it with your season on the line #golf.”

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

The story originally appeared on GolfWeek

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