Wilkinson rests ahead of playoffs
Tim Wilkinson will take this week off before charging into the web.com Tour playoffs next week.
After his sixth-place finish at the News Sentinel Open in Tennessee yesterday, the Manawatu professional will rest before the first of the four US$1 million (NZ$1.2m) playoff tournaments.
After those, he has already qualified to play the new PGA Tour events from October in California, Nevada, Georgia and Mexico which all count as part of next year's money list.
After that he will return to Palmerston North for about a month and will probably play one or two Australasian tournaments before heading to Hawaii in January.
His coach Andre White at the Manawatu Golf Club said all parts of Wilkinson's game were on song and as he cannot now top the web.com Tour money list, a rest was timely.
"He has been playing so well, a little scratchy this week, down from his lofty heights," White said.
Even so, a putt lipped out on the 18th yesterday. Had it dropped, Wilkinson would have taken a one-shot lead into the clubhouse.
In his 10th year as a professional, the 35-year-old is the most consistent player on the tour without a win.
After three birdies and an eagle yesterday, he parred the last four holes to finish sixth with rounds of 65, 70, 69 and 66 at the Fox Den Country Club in Knoxville to be two shots back from American Peter Malnati.
That saw him bank $23,590 to stay ninth on the money list with total earnings of $266,930.
"He is just a very solid player now," White said. "It was always going to take five years to learn, five years to perfect it and hopefully five years to cream it."
He is the sole player in the top nine not to have won after 10 top-15 finishes and five top 10s.
This was only his 15th event of the year, having played 27 and 23 tournaments in the previous two years, respectively.
"I took off last week and worked pretty hard on my game," he told the tour before the Tennessee event.
"I've done that a lot this year. Normally I play everything.
"When I feel myself getting tired and my game is not as sharp as it could be, I've taken a week off and gone home and worked."
Wilkinson returns to the PGA Tour for the first time since 2009.
After next week the top 25 will be joined by another 25 players who earn their way on to the PGA Tour through the new four-tournament playoff ending with the web.com Tour Championship from September 26 to 29 on Dye's Valley Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, Wilkinson's home course at Sawgrass.
Danny Lee, 12th on the standings, has also secured his PGA Tour card and Steve Alker can join them. He is 22nd on the order of merit.
- © Fairfax NZ News