The wild story of how 87 golfers made the cut at the Wyndham Championship


That’s how many golfers survived the 36-hole cut at this week’s Wyndham Championship, the regular-season finale. It’s the most players to make the cut on the PGA Tour since the cut rule changed to low 65 and ties to start the 2019-20 season, breaking the previous high mark of 84 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in May.

There are 21 golfers, including Shane Lowry, who flew home and needed to hire a private jet to get back for his third round tee time (see photo below), Justin Rose and Mark Hubbard, who owe Chris Gotterup big time – at least a thank you note if not a good bottle of wine. When play was suspended on Friday at 8:20 p.m. due to darkness, seven golfers remained on the course with exactly 65 golfers at 2-under or better and 88 at 1-under or better. Four of the remaining players would determine the cut on Saturday morning when play resumed: Bo Hoag (-3 thru 16 holes) Chris Gotterup (-2 thru 17 holes) Austin Smotherman (-1 thru 16 holes) and Joshua Creel (E thru 17 holes).

Hoag made pars to complete a round of 69, while Creel parred in too, but was on the wrong side of the cutline at even-par 140.

Gotterup is a hero to 21 players who have weekend plans and a paycheck thanks to his bogey at the last hole. He went to sleep needing to make a 4-foot bogey to make the cut. He made it and the bogey at the last meant he signed for 69 and a 36-hole total of 1-under 139.

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That brings us to the sad fate of rookie Austin Smotherman. He entered the week at No. 125 on the FedEx Cup point standings. The hot seat got too hot to handle despite a bogey-free 65 in the first round. On Friday, he was leaking oil, 4-over through 16, and facing a 12-foot birdie putt that would have lifted him to 2-under and bounced out all the players at 1-under when play was suspended.

With his 2022-23 Tour card and FedEx Cup playoff hopes hanging in the balance, Smotherman missed the birdie putt when play resumed at 6:47 am on Saturday. But thanks to Gotterup’s bogey, all he needed was a par at his last hole to make the cut on the number. It wasn’t to be. Despite finding the fairway at No. 9 with his tee shot, he pushed his approach at the par 4 from 158 yards and missed the green. Shortsided, his pitch ran 33 feet past the hole. Having to make the par putt, he didn’t come up short, but his do-or-die putt rolled 7 feet past the hole. He missed the meaningless comebacker, tapping in for double bogey and a round of 76.

As Max Homa tweeted of Smotherman, “I feel for him. That’s gotta be brutal to sleep on that with your season on the line #golf.”

The last time 87 players or more made the 36-hole cut on Tour was at the 2018 Wells Fargo Championship (87). The score of 1-under 139 is the highest 36-hole cut at the Wyndham Championship since 2013.