Wilkinson reaps rewards of consistency

IN FORM: Tim Wilkinson.
IN FORM: Tim Wilkinson.

Manawatu professional golfer Tim Wilkinson is now assured starts in most PGA Tour tournaments for the rest of the season.

After the 35-year-old finished in a tie for 18th at The Travelers Championship in Connecticut on Monday, he moved to a healthier 108th on the FedEx Cup rank.

That will entitle him to entry into everything except majors and World Golf Championship events.

This week he will line up at Congressional in Maryland for the Quicken Loans National, as will Tiger Woods.

Outside the majors, Wilkinson has six big tournaments to play before the cut-off in the second week of August for the top 125 who retain their PGA Tour cards. That is when the FedEx Cup playoffs start with four US$8 million tournaments.

His Manawatu Golf Club coach, Andre White, said there are continual re-ranks for the players who have graduated from the Web.Com Tour.

There is also a chance that if Wilkinson keeps playing steadily he could wing his way to the British Open at Hoylake from July 17 to 20.

There is now a little-known mini-moneylist on the PGA Tour for players who are going well and are not otherwise exempt to play the Open, to qualify. It has replaced the old system of one-off qualifying events.

In 2009, Wilkinson qualified in Texas for the Open at Turnberry, only to break his thumb a few weeks later. He still has his designated British Open golf bag sitting at home in Florida.

On Monday, Wilkinson missed a final putt on the 18th which was costly in US dollars but made little difference to his tour ranking.

"Tim is playing solidly," White said.

"He had a couple of pulled shots earlier in the last round but he's happy with how things are going.

"It is really hard for anyone to have four good rounds in a row.

"It would be nice when you get into a good situation to finish well. It can change your whole life."

That happened to Travelers winner Kevin Streelman with his seven birdies in a row. Wilkinson had been ahead of Streelman entering the final round only to shoot an even-par 70, while Streelman went mad with a 64.

Wilkinson still jumped up from 119th on the money list.

While he is not assured of holding his card yet, White said his man was comfortable and has no fear of missing out.

"Each week it gets harder to lose spots," White said. "At the beginning of the year there's huge fluctuations."

Manawatu Standard