Power holds aces as big three seek to salvage PGA Tour cards
Seamus Power

Seamus Power

Seamus Power is sitting pretty but star trio Shane Lowry, Graeme McDowell and Pádraig Harrington need to shoot the lights out to keep their PGA Tour cards at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro.

With only the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings keeping full status and qualifying for the first Playoff event, 123rd-ranked Power may already be safe at Sedgefield.

According to the latest ShotLink calculations from the PGA Tour, 375 points will be needed to advance to the Playoffs which means that Power's tally of 377 could prove priceless.

The West Waterford man (31) will still want to avoid a repeat of last year, when he was also 123rd entering the final event but missed the secondary cut after the third round and he was forced to win back his card at the Web.com Tour playoffs. Making the cut is imperative

Lowry has found form and confidence over the past month and while he’s looking to contend in an event where he must finish ninth at worst, he has Europe to fall back on.

"If I keep my card, I get to New York next week," said the Offaly man, who has finished 12th, 20th and 12th in his last three starts.  "That would be really good. 

"If not, I am going to have a few weeks off and go back to Europe. It's not the end of the world so that is why I have been playing so freely the last couple of weeks and why I have been playing so nicely. 

"I am obviously playing pretty good and I am looking forward to getting stuck in this week and hopefully trying to make next week."

With his confidence on the rise since he split with his caddie at The Open, 139th ranked Lowry (31) knows he can still return to the world’s top 50 and play a global schedule in 2019 if he has a strong finish to the Race to Dubai.

Still, he'll want to take advantage of his return to form and keep his options open by retaining his PGA Tour card

McDowell (39) is 143rd and while he needs a top-five finish to keep his card, he'd have conditional status next year as he'd finish in the 126-150 category at worst, and remains confident he'd have little difficulty getting starts.

"I haven't converted those good weeks, unfortunately, and I find myself on the outside looking in," McDowell said. "But I am really not trying to look on this week as a make or break for me. 

"I feel like I have done enough for the sport that I will be able to pinch a few invites next season and I am in the 126-150 category. I feel like I will be able to play at least three-quarters of the schedule that I want to play. 

"I feel if I was 25 years old without a European Tour card to fall back on, it would be a do-or-die scenario. 

"Certainly trying to put the pressure off, if I don't get myself into the top 125 it's not the end of the world for me."

Harrington, who is 220th, turns 47 in a fortnight and while he must win to keep his full playing rights, he could rely on his status in the top 50 Career Money winners to build a schedule next year.

When asked about his FedEx Cup situation at the US PGA, he indicated that it was not something that was at the forefront of his mind.

There are no Irish in the field at the European Tour's Nordea Masters in Sweden, but there are 23 at the Challenge Tour's Galgorm Resort & Spa Northern Ireland Open in Ballymena, including five-time European Tour winner Michael Hoey.

Hoey (39) is currently 26th on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah but renewed confidence with the putter has given him the belief that he can win one of 15 cards and compete to win on the main tour again.

“Putting has been key for me this season,” said Hoey.  “I’ve got a lot of confidence back with my putter and that feeds through the whole game."