Mahan makes cut, but struggles in Boston

Hunter Mahan finished three rounds at the Deutsche Bank Championship at 4 over and could face a secondary cut.

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NORTON, Mass. – One week after riding the emotional high of a victory at The Barclays that seemingly thrust him into leading consideration for one of three Ryder Cup captain’s picks, Hunter Mahan must endure the letdown of a rough finish in Round 3 of the Deutsche Bank Championship that puts his status in limbo.

Finishing with bogeys at the par-4 17th and par-5 18th for a second straight day, Mahan went out early Sunday, shot 2-over 73 and was faced with the cold reality of sweating out the secondary cut.

Because more than 78 players survived the 36-hole cut – in this case the number was 80 – PGA Tour officials mandate that a second cut be made to low 70 and ties after Round 3. It happened last week at The Barclays for just the second time since the FedEx Cup playoffs began in 2007 and officials confirmed that they heard loud criticism from players. Expect the dissent to grow even louder after it is instituted at the Deutsche Bank Championship.

But if you think it’s in vogue to be critical of the secondary cut in the FEC playoffs, don’t suggest that Mahan is new to the party. “I never thought it was a good idea,” he said.

Likely, Mahan dislikes it more than ever now that he was snared in the middle of it Sunday. When he signed for a 4-over 217, Mahan was tied for 72nd, which would have sent him packing. But probably as he enjoyed lunch, the secondary cut line had moved to 4-over and his position only improved during the day.

Thus Mahan will be eligible to play in the fourth round. The question, though, is this: What is running through his mind regarding his Ryder Cup changes?

“I just have to wait and see what happens,” he said. “I can’t do anything about it now.”

But he let it be known that he thinks his win at the Barclays is significant.

“Winning should count for a lot, because it does in this sport.”

The greater question, perhaps, is why wasn’t Mahan able to carry over the momentum from Ridgewood CC?

“I don’t know why. Everything felt good, felt the same as last week,” Mahan said. “I felt like i was going to play really well. I don’t know. I guess it’s the nature of golf. I can’t explain it.”

Forced to re-examine things, as Mahan and his peers so often do, he conceded that it has been a restless week. He said he didn’t sleep, that being a possible Ryder Cup is very much on his mind. “I tried to force it this week, tried too hard,” Mahan said.

“I was too hard on myself, trying to back up last week, trying to do too much.”

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