Seamus Power took another giant step towards keeping his PGA Tour card when he tied for fifth with David Hearn in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Also fifth last year, the West Waterford man and his Canadian playing partner made the cut on the mark before racing through the field by following an eight-under 64 in Saturday's fourballs with a priceless 68 in last night's foursomes.
Bogeys at the 16th and 17th could have proved costly, but they made their seventh birdie of the day at the par-five 18th to finish on 20-under par, six shots behind winners Joh Rahm and Ryan Palmer, earning $163,338 each.
After jumping from 189th to 141st in the FedExCup standings following his tie for sixth in the RBC Heritage seven days earlier, Power is now 117th with only the top 125 keeping their cards after the Wyndham Championship on August 4.
“We played well here last year and we knew we like the course,” Power said. “We gelled pretty well together so we were hoping for a good week and we played well.
“We got off to a little bit of a slow start but we were coming good there as it went on. We got a little jump on the putt on 16 and the 17th is a tough hole. But to get that birdie on the last was nice.
“So it’s a nice top 5 and a nice move in the FedEx. It was needed after a very slow start to the season. But that’s the way you turn it around — a couple of decent weeks and you are back in a solid position. So it’s definitely more to build on.”
Still keen to tee it up in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch, Power could still qualify for the PGA Championship at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course next month.
The top 70 in the PGA Championship Points List (PCPL) after this week’s Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow in his adopted Charlotte will qualify as well as the winner of next week’s AT&T Byron Nelson Championship in Dallas.
Power is ranked 120th in the PGA Championship Points List — a money list that runs from last year’s Players Championship and finishes next Sunday.
But he’s $409,264 behind 70th-ranked Ryan Moore, which means he will likely need to finish in the top three at Quail Hollow where he was tied 27th behind Jason Day last year.
If necessary to complete the field of 156 for Bethpage, golfers outside Top 70 in the PCPL will will gain entry in order of position, giving him another potential lifeline.
The top 100 in the world will likely be exempt but Power fell six places to 291st despite his second successive top-six finish.
Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson slipped from 12th in New Orleans to tied 18th on 17-under after a 73 as Rahm and Palmer shot 69 to win by three shots from Sergio Garcia and Tommy Fleetwood, who shot 68, on 26-under.
McDowell, whose win in Puntacana secured his PGA Championship spot, made headlines at the weekend by describing Edoardo Molinari's desperate plea for professional golf to speed up as akin to "flogging a dead horse."
The Italian Ryder Cup player vented on Twitter about slow play in Morocco and encouraged by his followers, he published an in-house list of players who had been given bad times and fined by the European Tour this season.
But McDowell, who is all for measures designed to speed up play, believes it’s an unwinnable war in the era of the 7,600 yard golf course and multi-million dollar prize funds and equipment interests
“I hear where Edoardo is coming from, but he is, what shall we say, flogging a dead horse? McDowell told Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine, admitting he had been put on the clock five times on the PGA Tour this year and was halfway towards a $25,000 fine.
“It’s not a dead horse, but it’s pretty dead. What do you want to do? We can’t get around there much quicker. Is 20 minutes going to change his life? Listen, I like Edoardo, nice kid, but I think he’s just frustrated."
It was a great weekend for Spanish golf as Jorge Campillo claimed his maiden European Tour win at the 225th attempt in the Trophée Hassan II on the Red Course at Royal Dar Es Salam and Nuria Iturrios won the Lalla Meryem Cup on the adjacent Blue Course. Results
Campillo came from one stroke behind 54-hole leader Erik van Rooyen, carding a two-under 71 to win by two strokes from the South African (74), and Americans Sean Crocker (72) and Julian Suri (71) on nine-under par.
"It's hard to describe," said 32-year-old Campillo, who had two of his six career runner-up finishes just last month.
"It's been a long road. Grateful, but it's been way too long. Way too many hours of work since I was a boy to today. I'm just proud that I can say I'm a winner on The European Tour."
Michael Hoey (74) tied for 35th (€18,500) on three-over with Paul Dunne (71) a shot further back in 38th and Gavin Moynihan (82) tied 63rd on nine-over.
Iturrios carded a three-under-par 70 to win the Ladies European Tour event by seven shots on 13-under par as Leona Maguire tied for 46th on eight-over after a 74. Results
Connor Syme clinched Scotland's fifth Challenge Tour win in 12 months at the Turkish Airlines Challenge, matching Francesco Laporta's closing 67 before beating the Italian with a birdie at the first extra hole as they tied on 23-under.
Derry's Ruaidhri McGee tied for 13th on 18-under after a 71 with Naas' Conor O'Rourke joint 36th on 12-under after a 72. Results
Stephanie Meadow (70 - 73 - 74 - 75) tied for 69th on eight-over par in the Hugel-Air Premia LA Open at Wiltshire Country Club where Australia’s Minjee Lee won by four strokes. Results