ATLANTA – Ryo Ishikawa has received three special invitations to play in the Masters. He was awarded an exemption for the PGA Championship last month, even though he had fallen to No. 158 in the world ranking.
But getting a PGA Tour card? This time, the 22-year-old from Japan earned it.
Ishikawa had a 69-68 weekend at the third Web.com Tour Finals event in Ohio. A week earlier, he shot 66 in the final round and finished fifth in North Carolina. Those results have assured him earning back his PGA Tour card for next year.
The Web.com Tour Championship at TPC Sawgrass next week (on the Valley Course, not the famous Stadium Course) is the final event of the four-tournament series.
The top 25 players from the Web.com Tour money list already have their cards and are playing for a priority ranking. The other 25 are based on the money list from the four tournaments. Ishikawa is sixth on that list, making him a mathematical lock.
Everyone down to Hudson Swofford can't fall out in the race for the open 25 cards. Heath Slocum and Sean O'Hair are close.
The replacement for Q-School seems to be working well for its first year. One of the curiosities about this Web.com Tour Finals was whether it would favor the players from Nos. 126-200 in the FedExCup or the players from Nos. 26 to 75 on the Web.com money list.
Going into the last event, the PGA Tour players have a 15-10 lead in the race for those 25 open cards.
Steve Wheatcroft is holding down the 25th spot, just $1,583 ahead of Bhavik Patel of the Web.com Tour. Among those PGA Tour players in jeopardy of not getting a card are three former Ryder Cup players – Robert Karlsson ($12,955 out of the 25th spot), Chad Campbell ($20,755 behind) and Chris DiMarco ($20,950 behind).