All Roland Thatcher can do is watch

Saturday, November 14, 2009

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Sunday may be a nerve-wracking experience for Roland Thatcher. He started this week at No. 119 on the money list, but missed the cut at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic and is projected to finish No. 123 on the PGA Tour money list with $681,631.   

There are five players he needs to pay attention to – Mathias Gronberg (T-1), Joe Ogilvie (T-8) Jimmy Walker (T-14), Jeff Maggert (T-19) and Rich Beem (T-31). Each could pass Thatcher on the money list with a good performance Sunday.

Ogilvie, Walker, Maggert and Beem are all within $20,000 of Thatcher on the projected money list, meaning three or four of them (depending on what Gronberg does) would have to improve their standing to bump Thatcher from the top 125.

It would take a perfect storm for Thatcher to get bumped from the top 125, but it could happen. Gronberg, who started the week 190th on the money list, is already ahead of Thatcher on the projected money list.

Gronberg, one of four 54-hole co-leaders, needs to either win or finish solo second to stay ahead of Thatcher. Gronberg has won four times on the European Tour and won a Nationwide Tour event earlier this year, but has zero PGA Tour wins.

Thatcher could be helped, though, by players like Gronberg, Will Mackenzie, Ricky Barnes and Richard S. Johnson, who are ahead of him on the projected money list, but could fall behind him if they struggle in the final round.

Here’s what Walker, Maggert, Ogilvie and Beem would have to do to pass Thatcher:

• Walker, currently projected to finish 124th on the money list, would have to improve from a five-way tie for 14th to a two-way tie for 13th or better.

• Maggert, projected No. 125, would have to improve from a five-way tie for 19th to solo 18th or better.

• Ogilvie, projected No. 127, would have to improve from a six-way tie for eighth to a four-way tie for seventh or better.

• Beem, projected No. 128, would have to improve from an eight-way tie for 31st to solo 24th or better.

Steve Flesch, who is projected to finish No. 126 on the money list, missed the cut this week then gave his irons away to a rules official who has a left-handed friend. “I won’t be able to use them next year,” he joked. Flesch is exempt for 2010 after winning three times in 2007. readers: We value your input and welcome your comments, but please be respectful in this forum.