Australia’s eight remaining contenders aim to cap a huge year with a record delegation in the US PGA Tour’s season-ending Tour Championship.
Going into the penultimate playoff series event, the BMW Championship, in Colorado on Thursday, 70 players remain in the season-long quest for the FedEx Cup and its whopping $US10 million bonus.
Just 30 will advance to the Tour Championship in Atlanta next week.
Since the FedEx Cup playoff system began in 2007, Australia’s best representation at the Tour Championship was five in 2011, and only two players made it in each of the last years.
The Australians have been buoyed by their resurgence this year, with Adam Scott, Jason Day, Geoff Ogilvy, Matt Jones, Steve Bowditch and John Senden all notching tour victories.
There are three distinct groups among them as those six players plus Marc Leishman and Steve Bowditch line up at Cherry Hills Country Club this week for their last chance to get inside the top 30.
Day (seventh in the standings), Scott (13th) and Senden (16th) are locked for Atlanta already with just their seeding up in the air, relieving some pressure and allowing free-swinging thoughts.
“The goal is to win (this week) because that will make it easier to win the FedEx Cup,” Day said.
“If you get into the top five (in the standings) going to Atlanta then you know a win there will win it all so that’s the goal.”
Ogilvy (24th) and Appleby (26th) are likely safe after recent runner-up finishes but cannot be certain – a precarious place for two veterans hoping to rebuild tbheir major championship status.
Just getting to the Tour Championship brings exemptions into the Masters, US Open and British Open in 2015.
For Ogilvy the carrot is Augusta National after missing the last two Masters while Appleby, a veteran of 55 majors, has missed the last 15 majors in a row.
“I don’t feel safe. I definitely have to perform,” Appleby said.
“A win is the ultimate but a top 10 would be nice.
“I won’t be watching the projections. There is too much stress involved.
“If it happens for me this week it will be because I make it happen.
“I have been dreaming of making the Tour Championship and getting back to the majors but I know I am not there yet.”
Bowditch (45th), Leishman (47th) and Jones (67th) are well aware nothing short of a huge week, probably top five or better, will give them a chance to progress.
“We don’t really have an option other than go for it,” Bowditch said.
“But it is a golf course you can get a run going so it should be fun.
“My goal at the start of the year was to try to get in the top 30 and I still have a chance so I’m looking forward to it.”