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News Tour pro thinks he needs eagle for a PGA Tour card but only needs birdie, makes par and feels “almost numb”

August 27, 2017

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The final round of the final regular-season event on the Tour had all angst and agita you’d expect when PGA Tour cards are on the line, even if the final results didn’t necessarily reflect it. As it turned out, the top 25 on the money list entering the WinCo Foods Portland Open were the same 25 coming out on Sunday, only the order changing.

That said, somebody might want to check on Keith Mitchell come Monday morning. With back-to-back birdies on Nos. 14 and 15, he needed another coming in to move from 36th on the money list inside the top 25. After burning the left edge with a six-foot birdie try on the 16th hole, then leaving a 20-foot birdie attempt on the 17th hole one revolution short, the 25-year-old former Georgia All-American, who shot a Saturday 62 to get into Sunday’s final twosome, still had a chance on the par-5 18th at Pumpkin Ridge G.C.’s Witch Hollow course to bump out Roberto Diaz for the final PGA Tour card.

Mitchell, who led the tour in eagles this season, confidently blasted a driver 330-plus yards, but tugged his second shot left, missing the green on the short side as his ball game to rest in a shortly mowed area. Mitchell’s third shot surprisingly raced 20 feet by the hole and, despite the benefit of seeing playing partner (and eventual winner) Brice Garnett roll in an almost identical putt, Mitchell hit his too hard and too far right. He’d have to settle for a par, a closing 70, T-6 finish and, ultimately, the No. 26 on the money list.

Adding insult to insanity, Mitchell said afterward that he had been told on the 18th tee he needed to eagle the last hole rather than birdie to earn his card. It might explain the chip shot and his poor birdie putt.

“I only learned in the trailer what I really needed,” he said.

Mitchell, who started the week No. 36 on the money list, described the final few holes as “the most stressful I’ve ever been. … There were a couple shots out there I was almost numb. “It’s really, really, really disappointing.”

When you see this birdie miss on the 17th, you'll understand why.

The fate of a pair other players on the “bubble” weren’t as dramatically painful, but still remained disappointing.

• Rob Oppenheim, No. 26 on the money list to start the week, closed with a 76 to finish T-65 in the tournament, falling back to No. 27.

• After a 65-70 start, No. 27 Martin Piller, who skipped the second-to-last Tour event to watch his wife, Gerina, compete at the Solheim Cup, shot 74-75 on the weekend to finish T-60 and drop to No. 28.

And then there was the story of David Skinns, an Englishman who started the week 115th on the money list. His target wasn’t the top 25 so much as the top 75, which would secure him full Tour status in 2018 and a spot in the Tour Finals Series

Skinns started the week 115th on the money list, and started the day projected at 107th, but a closing 64 moved him into T-2 for the tournament and bumped him to 58th on the money list, securing his Tour status for 2018 and giving him a spot in the Tour Finals. He was one of two players to move inside the top 75, along with Ben Kohles. Brady Schnell fell from (75th to 77th) and Samuel Del Val (74th to 76th).

WEB.COM TOUR MONEY LIST (Top 25 earn PGA Tour cards for 2017-'18)