GREENSBORO, NC – Ryan Moore didn’t exactly come to the Wyndham Championship with visions of playing his way into the FedExCup Playoffs.
He was ranked No. 183 on the eligibility list, after all. Not that he’d done the math – Moore maintains he was “just trying to find a little form” this week — but only a finish of second or better would lift him into the all-exempt 125 category and send him into the Playoffs .
“I’m trying to do whatever I can this week,” Moore explained. “I’m just trying to gain some confidence going into next season, to be honest.”
Mission accomplished, then, at least through the first two rounds.
Moore is tied for the lead with Brandon Wu, Sungjae Im and Tom Kim entering the weekend at Sedgefield Country Club. He’s currently projected No. 68 in the FedExCup and could become just the third player to ride a victory at the Wyndham Championship into the top 125.
Davis Love III was the first to do so when he moved from No. 186 to 76th in winning the tournament for the third time in 2015. Jim Herman also booked a trip to the Playoffs with his 2020 victory, jumping from 192nd to No. 54.
Moore has also won the Sam Snead Cup, capturing the PGA TOUR’s Regular Season final in 2009, the first of his five victories. He’s battled a chronically bad back of late, though, and he’s been particularly affected this year, missing nearly four months of competition.
Doctors have finally identified the problem – Moore has chronic deterioration in a costovertebral joint that connects the rib to the spine. It won’t require surgery, but Moore will need to set aside six to eight weeks of treatment.
“I basically just keep spraining it over and over and over again, which you can imagine doesn’t feel great twisting and swinging a golf club as hard as I can,” he said. “I’ll just try to finish out the year and deal with it and then hopefully have some time coming up here to do it.”
Moore has missed as many cuts as he’s made this year, but the former NCAA and US Amateur champ has yet to post a top-10 finish. His best is a tie for 24th at the John Deere Classic, a shotmaker’s course like Sedgefield where Moore tied for second last year.
Moore’s rounds of 65 and 66 were a study in contrast. He drove it well on Thursday and had three approach shots on his second nine that nestled within a foot of the hole. Friday, though, was a little more “scrappy,” but he managed to scramble well and save par when it counted.
“A day like today could easily have been even or so; instead, kept my momentum and ended up at 4 under,” he said.
The 39-year-old Moore has never been a big hitter, and he says there are fewer and fewer courses he feels that he can be competitive on. Sedgefield, though, is one where he has a comfort zone – posting six top 10s and a scoring average of 68.25.
“This one still remains like more of a shotmaker’s golf course, blind tee shots a lot and shorter and tougher angles,” Moore said. “So, they’re just harder fairways to hit at times and they’re not holes that you can just send it down there as far as you possibly can every single hole, so I think that helps me. It’s more of a position golf course and you don’t have to hit it far around here.”
Max McGreevy came to Greensboro having missed the cut in six of his last seven starts. He’s found a comfort zone at Sedgefield, though, where he once played in an AJGA event.
The 67 McGreevy fired in the second round of the Wyndham Championship put him in the hunt at 5 under. He’s also projected inside the top 125, moving four spots to No. 122.
“I know it’s a stressful week, but I know my game’s been in the right direction the last couple weeks,” he said. “… Just my fiancée and I and our dog this week. It’s just kind of relaxing in a sense, just getting out here, taking care of business and going back and relaxing with them.”
That said, McGreevy joked that his future wife should probably have taken his phone away from him the last few days.
“I’m pretty bad about checking a lot,” he said. “I already deleted the PGA TOUR app this week and Twitter and all that stuff. Honestly, I’ll look at it a little bit, but at the same time I can only play my game, can’t take care of what everybody else does.
“If I play like I did today the next two days, I know I’ll be in good shape.”
NOTES: Charley Hoffman’s streak of making the FedExCup Playoffs every year of its existence is still alive – but he faces an uphill battle. He’s 4 under after matching rounds of 68 but he was projected 146th and likely needs to finish fourth or better to get inside the top 125. … Adam Scott, who is tied at 2 under, and Matt Kuchar (who is 51st and not playing this week) are the other two who have played in the Playoffs every year since the program began in 2007. Scott came into the Wyndham Championship ranked No. 73. … Rickie Fowler shot even par and will miss the cut. While he is exempt for the 2022-23 season, he is in danger of missing the Playoffs for the second straight year. He came in ranked No. 123 and was projected 127th. … Justin Lower shot 4 under on his second nine holes Friday to keep his Playoff hopes alive. Lower, who came into the week ranked No. 128 and projects at 131, shot 66 and made the cut on the number at 2 under. He likely needs to finish 37th or better to play in Memphis next week. … Webb Simpson, who won the Wyndham Championship in 2011, withdrew during the weather delay. The recently named Presidents Cup assistant captain, who has never missed the Playoffs when he was eligible, entered the tournament ranked No. 117 and is projected no. 123. … Martin Trainer moved up nine spots to No. 126 thanks to his second straight round of 67. He likely needs to finish tied for 18th to retain his exempt status and make the Playoffs.
PLAYOFF’S BUBBLE WATCH
Here are the players who were projected to move in and out of the top 125 at the end of Thursday’s first round at Sedgefield Country Club.
Ryan Moore (No. 183, Projected No. 68): Moore made the biggest move of the day with his round of 66.
Max McGreevy (No. 126, Projected No. 122): The rookie birdied his 17th hole of the day to move inside the top 125.
Brian Stuard (No. 137, Projected No. 124): Stuard has now shot consecutive rounds in the 60s for the first time since the Valspar Championship.
Rickie Fowler (No. 123, Projected No. 127): Fowler bogeyed three of his first four holes but played his next 14 in 4 under to shoot 69. Still, he is even par for the tournament and likely to miss the cut.
Matt Wallace (No. 124, Projected No. 128): Wallace had an adventurous back nine, making four birdies, four bogeys and just one par.
Austin Smotherman (No. 125, Projected No. 129): He was 4 over for the day and 1 under for the tournament through 16 holes when play was called due to darkness. The current projected cut includes 65 players at 2 under or better and 88 players at 1 under or better. Four players can affect the cut on Saturday, including Smotherman, Bo Hoag (3 under through 16), Chris Gotterup (2 under through 17) and Joshua Creel (even through 17).
Editor’s Note: Austin Smotherman, who entered the week 125 in the FedExCup standings, made a double bogey at the ninth hole, his final hole of the second round, to finish at 1-over and miss the cut and drop out of the 125.