Impressive Lowry misses Playoffs as Power loses card

Impressive Lowry misses Playoffs as Power loses card
 Shane Lowry. Picture; Scott Halleran/PGA of America

Shane Lowry. Picture; Scott Halleran/PGA of America

Seamus Power lost his full PGA Tour playing rights as Shane Lowry failed to make the FedEx Cup Playoffs despite finishing tied for seventh behind Henrik Stenson at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro.

Lowry began the week ranked 145th in the FedEx Cup standings and came within a whisker of making the crucial top 125 after an impressive week in North Carolina.

After closing with a three under 67 to finish tied for seventh on 15 under par — his best finish of the PGA Tour season — he ended up an agonising 127th in the standings as Stenson carded a six-under 64 to win by a shot from Ollie Schniederjans (64) on 22-under par.

Despite his near miss, Lowry wasn't too disappointed and he's looking forward now to finishing the year well in Europe and trying to get back into the world's top 50.

"If you'd offered me 15 under at the start of the week, I'd have bitten your hand off," said Lowry, who is still exempt in the US next season. "It wasn't quite good enough but it was still a good week for me."

Set to reappear in the Omega European Masters at Crans in three weeks' time, Lowry added: "I have my [PGA Tour] card for next year anyway and if had made it next week, I'd have knocked someone out. 

"Fair play to the guys who kept their cards — I am happy for them — and even though  I'd love to be playing next week, I've got the rest of the season in Europe to worry about.

"These last couple of weeks I think I've played great so I am looking forward to the rest of the year."

Rookie Power started the week 123rd in the standings but shot a costly, four over 74 on Saturday to join Padraig Harrington in missing the third round cut.

Harrington needed to finish first or second to make the Playoffs after an injury-curtailed season but ended up 200th in the standings and will have a medical exemption for nine events next season to try and make up the 283 FedEx Cup points he needs to match 125th finisher JJ Henry.

If he does that, he will be exempt for 2017-18 and won't need to rely on invitations or that once-off, Top 50 career money winner's category.

As for Power, he finished 130th in the FedEx Cup standings and while he lost full PGA Tour status, he will still get more than a dozen starts next year, though they will be “scattered” and planning a schedule will be a challenge.

Steve Marino finished 130th last year and while he got 15 starts, he made just five cuts and failed to regain his card. But Chris Stroud was 134th and played 17 times before winning the Barracuda Championship in his 18th start. The following week he contended for the US PGA and finished tied ninth.

As for the Wyndham Championship, Stenson was forced to make four birdies in five holes from the 13th to edge past the hugely impressive, 24-year old Schniederjans for his first win since last year's Open Championship.

As a result, the Swede moved up 52 places to 23rd in the FedEx Cup standings and back to sixth in the world.

But the big winners came from outside the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings with the most spectacular move coming from the 35-year old Texan Martin Flores, who finished hole-in-one, par, birdie at the 16th, 17th and 18th to go from 139th to 118th in the standings.

While he holed an eight-iron from 172 yards for his ace at the 16th, it was the eight footer he made for birdie at the 18th that earned him his card.

He said: "Just kept telling myself, 'You have to make it. I don't care what you have to do, just find a way to make it' and I was able to go through my process and how I've been doing the whole day and I was able to put a pure stroke on it and buried it."

There were other heroes with Rory Sabbatini's share of fourth moving him from 148th to 122nd and Harold Varner III's tie for 10th moving him from 138th to 123rd. 

Former Ryder Cup player JJ Henry was the last man standing after his birdie at the last gave him a share of 16th and took him from 135th to 125th.