China’s Carl Yuan carded a final round of even par 70 to miss out on a Top 125 finish in the FedExCup Fall standings by a mere point following the conclusion of the RSM Classic on Sunday, and vowed to learn from mistakes made from his rookie PGA TOUR season.
The 26-year-old Yuan finished behind 125th ranked Troy Merritt, who secured the final PGA TOUR card for next season which comes with exemptions into all Full Field events and THE PLAYERS Championship. The young Chinese had started the final round in a share of 55th place at Sea Island and traded four birdies against four bogeys to finish T68. He made a gallant fight to stay inside the Top 125 with two closing birdies which proved futile in the end.
Ryan Moore, a five-time PGA TOUR winner, was the only player who broke into the Top 125 after starting the week outside the bracket. The 40-year-old closed with a bogey-free 65 to finish in tied eighth and jumped from 128th to 118th in the final FedExCup Fall standings.
“I knew what I need to do today, if I come out shoot 3, 4 under, I’ll be okay. I didn’t do that, but I still give it all towards the end,” said Yuan.
“Coming to the week, definitely it was a pressure week, not going to lie. I did pretty good getting in the weekend, but on the weekend physically I didn’t feel great, my back was really bugging me. But I was really hang tight in there, try to do best I can. I didn’t leave anything out there, I gave it all. If it’s good, it’s good. If it’s not, play better.
“I think definitely I had a rough start during the season … my rookie year. Definitely things to be learned. I think it’s a good learning curve for me putting up good rounds, good tournaments, just having experiences being in the final group. That definitely contributed to that good finish last week, put myself in position. I think it’s a great season for me to learn and grow.”
All is still not lost for Yuan as players finishing 126th to 150th in the FedExCup Fall standings, including compatriot Marty Zecheng Dou who finished 133rd, will have conditional status in 2024. They will likely have around 10 starts next season, but Yuan said he would be signing up for the Qualifying School Final Stage next month where the top 5 finishers and ties will earn PGA TOUR cards.
“I’ll probably go to Q-School. It’s right at home, so definitely if I finish top-5 in Q-School, it’s still better than 126,” said Yuan. “126, that not that bad of a spot, getting handful of tournaments, so not too worried about that since I had one year under my belt. I hope I get off to a better start next year and get in more tournaments and play good.”
His cause wasn’t helped as he tweaked his back while sleeping in his Airbnb rental at Sea Island this week. “The bed is just too soft for me, and it started bugging me like on Thursday night. I could have done a better job with it. I tried to rehab and do stuff but definitely bugged me a little bit. You know, that comes with the profession. I’ve got to handle my body well. It’s my responsibility,” he said.
Swedish rising star Ludvig Åberg concluded the 2022-23 PGA TOUR Season on a high note by romping to a four-stroke victory over Mackenzie Hughes after posting a second straight 61 in his final round. The 24-year-old became the first PGA TOUR University alum to win a PGA TOUR title, having turned professional in May. He also played in the Ryder Cup for the victorious European Team in September and won once on the DP World Tour as well.
With his win, he has earned exemptions into the first three Signature Events in 2024 and with his projected 32nd place on the Official World Golf Ranking, the talented Swede will also have starts in the majors next season as well.
“I still pinch myself in the morning when I wake up to kind of realize that this is what I do for a job. It’s been so much fun. These experiences that I’ve had over the last six months has been beyond my dreams and I’ll never forget it,” said Ludvig, who graduated from Texas Tech University.
“I felt like I was striking the ball very well all week. To be honest, I feel like I’ve been striking the ball quite well over the last couple of months. It’s just one of those weeks where everything kind of comes together. I made a few putts here and there that are very important. First two rounds I made a few par putts that kind of keeps the momentum going. Obviously today Mackenzie and I played some really good golf. He really pushed me and I think I pushed him as well. To kind of make those few birdies when it matters is very, very cool.”
Final-Round Notes – Sunday, November 19, 2023
Weather: Mostly sunny. High of 73. Wind NE 8-13 mph, with gusts to 15 mph.
|1||Ludvig Åberg||PL-SS-SS-SS||67||64||61||61||253 (-29)|
|2||Mackenzie Hughes||PL-SS-SS-SS||68||66||60||63||257 (-25)|
|T3||Tyler Duncan||SS-PL-SS-SS||68||65||62||65||260 (-22)|
|T3||Eric Cole||PL-SS-SS-SS||66||66||61||67||260 (-22)|