A gut punch like a triple bogey on the first hole at the Wyndham Championship would put most golfers out of the competition mentally.
It is hard to rebound from such a terrible start to a golf round, let alone a tournament, let alone a PGA Tour tournament, let alone a tournament with FedEx Cup implications attached. This exact scenario happened to former Illini, Nick Hardy, though.
To start the final tournament of the regular season and the final tournament before the FedEx Cup playoffs, Hardy pulled his tee shot right and then took six more strokes to finish his first hole of the day with a triple bogey seven on the par four first hole.
This was a rough start for someone like Hardy who needed to have a good showing at the Wyndham Championship. A solid finish at this tournament and Hardy could see himself in the top 125 of the FedEx Cup standings.
Top 125 of the FedEx Cup means more than just more golf for Nick Hardy.
After that rough triple bogey start to Hardy’s round, he was able to gather his thoughts and play some great golf on the way out. A birdie at No. 4, an eagle at No. 5, and a birdie at No. 8 would enable Hardy to make the turn a one under. He would go on to finish his first round at the Wyndham Championship at even par.
All things considered, that is a solid start for Hardy. He started the day at No. 129 in the FedEx Cup standings, and as of right now, Hardy would finish No. 132 if he doesn’t move up on the leaderboard.
The cut looks to be, roughly, two under right now, so Hardy does have some work to do to make the weekend. If he can accomplish putting up a 68 or lower on Friday, this could mean a rise in the FedEx Cup standings.
Getting into the top 125 of the FedEx Cup would get Hardy into the playoffs, but it would also get him more than just another PGA Tour tournament. If Hardy could crack the top 125, then he would get full exemption for the PGA Tour the following season.
Full exemption for next season means Hardy wouldn’t have to go through a qualifying process. He wouldn’t have to go through Monday qualifiers to get into that week’s tournament. He wouldn’t have to grind it out on the Korn Ferry Tour. Hardy would get to play in as many PGA Tour tournaments as his heart desires, and he could continue to work his way up the Official World Golf Rankings.
So, the next few days have some pretty big ramifications for Hardy. Step one is making the cut at the Wyndham Championship. The next step is finishing in the top 125 of the FedEx Cup. It will be an exciting next 72 hours.