Jeff Overton's desire to keep his PGA Tour card can't be questioned.
Just nine days after undergoing an emergency appendectomy, Overton is scheduled to play in Thursday's opening round of the Ginn sur Mer Classic in Palm Coast, Fla. After being forced to withdraw from last week's Frys.com Open, Overton slipped four spots to No. 126 on the PGA Tour money list.
With only one more Fall Series event left to play after this week's event on the Conservatory Course at Ginn Hammock Beach Resort, Overton is one of several players scrambling to finish among the top 125 in earnings. Doing so secures exempt status for 2009 and keeps players like Overton from having to go back to the meat grinder that is Q School in December to have a chance to regain their tour card.
"No one wants to do that," Overton told the Associated Press. "I'm going to come out here and hope for a miracle."
So far this season, Overton has earned $788,675, which leaves him less than $7,000 behind Patrick Sheehan, who is holding down the No. 125 spot. Players as far back as No. 140 on the money list have a chance at cracking the top 125 by finishing sixth or higher.
That means Overton has little choice but to try and gut it out this week. His doctors have warned him that he will likely be in pain but that he can't cause himself any harm.
"It's unfortunate, but it's the game of golf," said Overton, who has five top-25 finishes in 30 events played this year. He has three top-10 performances in 2009.
The Ginn sur Mer Classic field includes 14 players who have posted PGA Tour victories in 2008, including the last three tournament winners. That includes the previous three Fall Series tournament winners in Zach Johnson, Marc Turnesa and Cameron Beckman.
Also trying to improve his status is Davis Love III, who enters the tournament ranked No. 115 on the PGA Tour money list.
"Guys want it really bad out here," Love said. "You can see the grind and see the desperation come into play."
Love could have taken an exemption for 2009 based on career earnings, but Love said he felt a need to earn his tour card for next year.
"I wanted to play," Love said. "Part of it is a matter of pride. You want to save your ‘Get Out of Jail Free' card for another time."
Last year, Sweden's Daniel Chopra won this event played at Tesoro Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla., defeating Fredrik Jacobsen and Shigeki Maruyama by a single shot in a Monday finish. Chopra opened this year with a victory in the Mercedes-Benz Championship.
The tour will remain in Florida next week, closing out the Fall Series with the Children's Miracle Network Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Fla..
• SCHEDULE: Thursday-Sunday
• SITE: Palm Coast, Fla.
• COURSE: Ginn Hammock Beach Resort, The Conservatory (7,663 yards, par 72)
• PURSE: $4.6 million (winner's share: $828,000)
• TV: None
October 30, 2008
Davis Love III, who played the final 57 holes of the Children's Miracle Network Classic without a bogey, finished at 25-under 263 in the season-ending event played at the Walt Disney World Golf Resort in Florida. It has been a long road back for Love, who severely sprained his ankle late last year. After tearing ligaments, he needed surgery, and he's spent much of this year rehabilitating the injury.
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