NORTON, MASS. (AP) - Charl Schwartzel of South Africa birdied the last two holes to narrowly get inside the top 70 in the FedEx Cup and advance to the third playoff event next week at Crooked Stick. The question now is whether he will show up.
Schwartzel has been coping with a rib injury since the U.S. Open, and it has flared up again. Schwartzel told one media outlet he was “doubtful” to play, and another group of reporters that the odds were 50-50.
The Deutsche Bank Championship was his seventh straight tournament because he needed to get in his minimum 15 events to maintain PGA Tour membership, and the former Masters champion is on the edge. That was never more clear on Sunday in a moment that was replayed endlessly on television.
He already had made three double bogeys for the day _ courtesy of a broken driver _ when he had a 3-foot birdie putt on the 18th. It caught the lip and spun away. He went to roll that one in and it caught another lip.
“That was enough for me,” Schwartzel said.
He barely waited for the ball to stop rolling when he swatted at it left-handed, and missed badly. He finally cleaned up the four-putt for a double bogey and a 79. Asked about the putt from the left side, Schwartzel said, “At that point it was a blur.”
Part of the problem was his driver. Schwartzel said the shaft began to wear, and when his caddie picked up the bag on the sixth fairway Sunday, the head topped over. He did not have a backup driver, and when a replacement was brought out to him, he tried it on No. 14, snap-hooked it into the trees and made double bogey.
Schwartzel said if he skips the BMW Championship _ he would need a top finish just to get to the Tour Championship, anyway _ he would take a month off to rest and not return until the Dunhill Championship in Scotland.
MOVING ON: Chris Kirk was No. 81 in the FedEx Cup, needing a solid final round to get into the top 70 and move on to the next playoff event. This was not the start he envisioned _ six bogeys through 13 holes against only one birdie as he tumbled down the leaderboard and seemingly out of the playoffs.
What followed was just as surprising. He holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the 14th, and Kirk was on his way. He birdied four of the last five holes to barely advance.
“A little shocked that I put myself in that position,” Kirk said. “And then very shocked that I managed to dig myself out. It just shows how crazy this game is.”
He wasn’t alone.
Dicky Pride birdied his last two holes to advance to the BMW Championship, keeping alive his hopes of reaching the Tour Championship. He knew he was close, but tried not to look at a leaderboard so he could concentrate on his golf.