Last weekend, Bryce Molder was having fun.
In the Deutsche Bank Championship, Molder climbed into the top five during the final two rounds before falling a bit to ninth place.
In doing so, he made the biggest jump of anyone in the FedEx point standings, going from 93rd to 45th. That qualified him for this weekend’s BMW Championship at Indianapolis, the third elimination stage for the PGA Tour Championship, which takes the top 30 golfers from this weekend’s play.
Molder likes the survive-and-advance format for the climactic weeks of the tour season. It certainly attracts more quality fields in tournaments that used to struggle to get the top players to participate.
It’s pressure-packed golf with lots at stake.
“There is more pressure knowing you will go home without a good week,” Molder said. Even if you are pretty safe for one event, you probably aren’t safe for two in a row, so you feel a sense of urgency. The FedEx Cup has really added some energy to the end of the season. Everyone is playing for something, whether it is keeping your tour card, moving on in each event, making the Ryder cup team, or winning the whole thing. Lots of fun!”
But Thursday wasn’t much fun for the four-time, first-team All-American at Georgia Tech. He bogeyed four straight holes on the back 9 and finished far back in the pack at the BMW at 5-over 77.
He’ll have to have a strong round Friday to gain any hope of gaining the final 30 who will move on the the championship in Atlanta.
Nothing much has been happening for Molder on tour most of the summer but got hot at the right time. He doesn’t exactly know why.
“I’ve been struggling for most of the summer but starting to see some good signs in the last four to five weeks,” he said Wednesday. “Sometimes nothing changes; you just start to put it all together. I finally had a round on Friday, the first round (of the Deutches Bank Classic), where I got rewarded for my good shots and did not get punished for the few bad ones. Sometimes, it’s the opposite.”
Almost every golfer has ridden a roller-coaster during this crazy and unpredictable summer on tour.
Molder’s late surge will assure him his tour card for next season.
And that’s a huge part of the surival game.
(Sports columnist David McCollum can be reached at 505-1235 or firstname.lastname@example.org)