After both Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington fell foul of the weekend cut, Ireland’s hopes fell on the shoulders of Seamus Power at this past week’s AT&T Pro-Am.
As the votes were being counted from the election held across his native land, Power’s attention was firmly fixed on the fairways of Pebble Beach where he looked to take advantage of a rare PGA Tour start off Conditional Status this term
The West Waterford professional grafted hard on a tricky final day before eventually signing for a two-over par 74 that saw him rise six places on the leaderboard into a tie for 38th.
It was a big week for Power as not only did he walk away with a valuable cheque worth $28,561, but he also banked four competitive rounds on the PGA Tour. The result saw him jump 14 places on the FedEx Cup standings and although much more is needed if he is to regain full status on Tour, his trip to California was certainly a step in the right direction.
Perhaps Power can draw inspiration from Nick Taylor who claimed a wire-to-wire victory and his second PGA Tour title at the same event. Not even 44-time winner, Phil Mickelson, playing alongside Taylor in the final group, could rattle the Canadian as they made their way down the stretch at one of golf’s most famous tracks.
“Nick played better than I did,” conceded Mickelson as the spotlight shifted away from one of America’s most loved talents to shine on one of Canada’s least known.
As it turned out, Taylor’s win was the only story worth telling after the celebrities and their six-hour rounds rolled in and out of California. There’s a reason why Taylor’s name wasn’t on everyone’s lips as the likes of Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Mickelson were tipped pre-tournament for the title.
In his first five seasons on Tour, Taylor only once climbed inside the top-100 on the FedEx Cup standings – 93rd in 2017. 12 months ago he spent all but two weeks of the regular season in 90th place or worse before eventually finishing 120th while in 2018, he arrived at the regular-season finale ranked a perilous 129th on the table.
At the Wyndham there would be no second chances and after three rounds at Sedgefield, he still hadn’t done enough to claw his way back inside the top-125. That was, until a sparkling final round 63 saw him claim a top-10 finish and more importantly, a place inside the top-125 at a sketchy 123!
That 63 came out of nowhere. Clutch. Brave. Inspiring, but after his win at Pebble Beach on Sunday, Taylor’s earned himself an exemption that means FedEx Cup worries won’t darken his door this year.
“It’s no fun hovering around that 125,” Taylor said. “I’ve been able to keep my card the last couple of years; did it a little bit earlier last year. But that final round is probably what I drew back on the most starting today.
“In the grand scheme of things, I was under way more pressure in that scenario than actually when I was trying to win today. … That was very crucial for my career – and it’s nice not having to do that again this year at least.”
Power’s no stranger to hovering around that 125 number but it’s stories like Taylor’s, triumphs in patience and persistence, that should fill Seamus with all the belief necessary to return full-time to golf’s top table.