By Ron Patey
The 51-year-old Davis Love III proved on Sunday that age can be just a number. He posted the lowest score of the day, 6-under 64, to zoom up the leaderboard and win the Wyndham Championship trophy at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro. Love III, who won the tournament in 1992 and 2006 (when it was called the Kmart Greater Greensboro Open and Chrysler Classic of Greensboro respectively), became the third oldest player to win a PGA tournament. The 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup captain showed a fine putting touch on the Donald Ross track, which nicely complemented his well-known ability to strike long and accurate drives. Moving to 76th from 186th in the point totals, well inside the top 125, he secured a spot in the FedExCup playoffs.
Love III’s one-shot victory over Jason Gore, whose long-distance birdie putt at 18 came within a couple of inches of forcing a playoff, will put the future hall of famer and holder of 21 PGA Tour titles back in the Masters for the first time in four years. He’ll also be competing in The Players Championship after a three-year drought. Gore joins Love III, Jonas Blixt, Camilo Villegas and Ryo Ishikawa in the wave of players who earned playoff spots in this week’s Barclays. They displaced Jamie Donaldson, Will MacKenzie, Scott Stallings, Brian Huard and Nicholas Thompson.
Tiger Woods couldn’t keep up his torrid pace during the first two rounds, finding himself unable to squeak into the FedExCup playoffs. The 14-time major champion had the huge galleries buzzing after he went 64 and 65 on Thursday and Friday. While others picked up the pace, Woods dawdled with vanilla rounds of 68 and 70 on the weekend to finish at 187th in the point totals.
Next On The Tee: The Barclays
Jordan Spieth begins his charge to cap off an already historic season at Plainfield Country club in New Jersey with a big 1,710-point lead on second-place sitter Jason Day. Spieth, the new No. 1 in the world rankings, came within a break here or there of adding the Open Championship (T4) and PGA Championship (solo 2) to his earlier victories at the Masters and U.S. Open. The 22-year-old Texan is a four-time winner in 2015.
Jason Day arrives at the first playoff event riding an emotional high after his magnificent PGA Championship triumph at Whistling Straits. Including the RBC Canadian Open on Glen Abbey, the 27-year-old Australian has three wins in 2015.
Bubba Watson occupies third place, but has had dismal results in the majors this season. Although Watson did have his best tournament at the recent PGA Championship (T21), he missed the cuts in the Open Championship and U.S. Open after not threatening at Augusta (T38), where he’s been fitted for a green jacket twice.
Dustin Johnson should be more laid-back than usual when he walks onto the first tee at Plainfield. Johnson won on this week’s layout in 2011’s Hurricane Irene-shortened event, when he topped Matt Kuchar by two shots. It was the only previous time that Plainfield hosted the tournament.
Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia are among the qualifiers who have decided to pass on playing this week. McIlroy reports that he wants to give his ankle some more time to recover.
Plainfield Country Club plays 7,012 yards and is a par 70.
Favorites: Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk
Players To Watch: Billy Horschel, Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama, Hunter Mahan, Tony Finau
Ron Patey covered the golf industry for 21 years as a special sections editor with Sun Media. During the past five years, Patey has been a golf writer for Examiner.com.