A Disney win for Anderson could mean wedding conflict
Photos: Children's Miracle Network Classic (Rd. 2)
View images from the second round of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, played Nov. 9 at Disney's Magnolia and Palm courses in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Mark Anderson is getting married Jan. 5 in Beaufort, S.C. There could be an unforeseen scheduling conflict, though.
His nuptials overlap with the second round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Anderson was tied for the 36-hole lead at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic when he finished Friday’s play. He’ll qualify for the winners-only event in Hawaii should he hold on to win this event.
So, which takes precedence: the wedding or one of the PGA Tour’s most exclusive events? “That’s something I hope we’ll have to figure out,” he said.
Anderson shot 67 Friday and was at 9-under 135. A strong finish is extremely important this week, as Anderson seeks a final-week rally to keep his PGA Tour card. He’s 170th on the money list, and needs to finish third or better this week to keep his card.
“Obviously it’s hard to win out here, and to finish top 3 is great playing,” Anderson said. “But it also means I can just kind of go out there and freewheel it. I have to play well. I know that.”
The PGA Tour rookie made eight of his first nine cuts this year, but has earned just $37,295 since May. He’s not the only contender this week who is seeking a high finish to keep his card. Ryuji Imada and Matt Jones were tied with Anderson after Friday’s play. Imada is 183rd on the money list. Jones is 177th.
Imada didn’t mince words. “I’ve had an awful year,” he said. There’s no other way to describe it. He’s earned just $207,393 in 27 starts. He’s made just 11 cuts this year, and finished in the top 50 twice (T-10, True South Classic; T-38, The Greenbrier).
He has one more chance to turn his season around, and he’s making the most of it. He chipped in twice in his first three holes Friday while playing in his first three groups.
“One good weekend can mean a lot,” he said. “It can turn your whole year around.”
Imada’s 66 on Friday came on Walt Disney World Resort’s Magnolia Course, the longer and tougher of the two layouts in use this week. No player shot lower than 68 there in Thursday’s first round. Imada will have to win or finish solo second this week to keep his PGA Tour card.
Anderson shot 67 Friday on the Magnolia Course, while Jones posted 64 on the Palm.
Even a two-way tie for second, which is worth $413,600, would likely leave Imada short of the top 125. Billy Mayfair currently holds the 125th position on the money list with $619,961. The winner’s check this week is worth $846,000, while second place pays $507,600.
Players’ eleventh-hour attempts to retain playing privileges are always a dominant storyline at the season finale, and big rallies have happened before. Roland Thatcher finished solo second here in 2010 to keep his Tour card. His $507,600 was 64 percent of his season earnings, and moved him from 179th on the money list to No. 122.
“I couldn’t imagine having a more stressful moment in my life, up to this point,” Thatcher said after that final round. “So to be able to come out on the other side of that, on the good side of it is just amazing for me.”
It seems like almost every player at Disney is fighting for his card. Some just need to make the cut to ensure playing privileges for next year. Others need to win, or at least come close. When the money list is finalized, it won’t matter whether each dollar was earned in January or November, though. Only the final sum is of any importance. Jones put it into perfect perspective. “Better late than never,” he said.