Lee Hodges was only 110th in the world and 74th in the FedEx Cup standings when he arrived in Minnesota, just ahead of Justin Thomas (75th). Coming from Alabama, he is 28 years old, pro since 2018, and he arrived on the PGA Tour in 2022.
He won the 3M Open on Sunday and made a big leap in the rankings on Monday morning: he is now 54th in the OWGR rankings, close to the world top 50, and 33rd in FedEx Cup points. While Justin Thomas, who missed the cut, is only 26th in the world and 77th in the FedEx ranking.
And therefore not sure at all of being able to participate in the play-offs at the end of next week (70 qualified).
Lee Hodges, results
After three rounds in 63, 64 and 66, Hodges was 20 under on Sunday morning and had a five stroke lead over JT Poston, six over defending champion Tony Finau and seven over Australian comeback Aaron Baddeley.
He managed this little mattress perfectly and returned a last card of 67 which put him definitively in the shelter, at 24 strokes under par. A roller coaster map, with two eagles, three birdies and three bogeys. Without ever cracking.
The 500 points gleaned by Lee Hodges in the FedEx Cup standings ensure him a presence in the play-offs on August 10 in St Judes, Tennessee, without going through the Wyndham Championship box next week. It’s deserved, given his demonstration this week.
Because behind him the battle raged and JT Poston, who played with him in the last part, put a lot of pressure: five birdies between 6 and 16, to get closer to four shots (-20 to -24). Before collapsing at 18: bad rebound, ball in the water and triple bogey 8, for a card of 69, end of story.
Two other players, who had already returned to the clubhouse, took advantage of the windfall to finish joint 2nd with JT Poston, 60th in the FedEx ranking before this tournament. Kevin Streelman, who had played 66, and especially Martin Laird, author of a nice 64 to finish in style too, but without too much hope for the FedEx.
They all three finished at -17 while Tony Finau, 3rd on Sunday morning, had to settle for a 70 synonymous with 7th place in the final. But he is already qualified for Memphis. In front of Finau, tied for 7th at -15 with Aaron Baddeley (69 on Sunday) and Sam Ryder (68), there are also Dylan Wu (64) and Keith Mitchell (67) in 5th place.
Behind Finau, at -14, Emiliano Grillo, Sam Stevens and Cam Davis complete the top 10. And there is above all Beau Hossler, 13th thanks to a last lap of 62, the best card of the whole week by equaling the TPC Twin Cities course record in Baine.
Hossler birdied 10 times (for a single bogey), including 8 in a row between 9 and 16, and he moved up 42 places in the tournament standings, with some FedEx points to boot. He was 62nd when he arrived in Baine and is 63rd on Monday morning, which gives him some oxygen before the Wyndham Championship. There will only be 70 players in Tennessee on August 10 for the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs.