Curtis Luck enjoyed his sweetest moment – and the bitter realities of professional golf – with his best finish on the US PGA Tour today.
The rising West Australian carded an even-par 70 to close the Quicken Loans National in a share of fifth place, his best finish since turning pro after the Masters in April.
Including his start as an amateur in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and his visit to Augusta National, it was Luck’s eighth tournament in which he has been disqualified once, missed two cuts but impressively banked five cheques.
But none nearly as chunky as the $US216,994 he’ll bank today, bringing his season earnings to
$US285,205 and already within touching distance of the Web.Com Tour playoff finals.
Importantly, his top-10 finish earns Luck, who’d been playing in Maryland on one of his limited sponsor’s exemptions, a “free” start at next week’s Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia.
Luck briefly shared the lead during the final round when he rolled in his third birdie of the day on the fifth green.
But bogeys on the eighth and ninth stalled that run and a string of mid-range chances on the back nine didn’t quite drop, leaving the Cottesloe ace agonisingly one stroke shy of an even bigger prize.
With the Quicken Loans one of the global Open Qualifying Series events, Luck had an Open berth at Royal Birkdale slip through his fingers.
The top four players not already exempt at TPC Potomac earn starts at the year’s third major, and that stretched to the same four-under-par total at which Luck finished.
But with tournament winner Kyle Stanley, runner-up Charles Howell and Scotsman Martin Laird all at -5 or better, the method to determine the final place is done by world rankings and Korean Sung Kang took that prize among the eight at T5.
Marc Leishman was another on the same total as the Victorian peeled off five birdies in his impressive 66 to share top Aussie status with Luck.
Geoff Ogilvy had been in that conversation until two late bogeys left him with a 71 and at three under in a share of 13th.
Matt Jones (T38 at +3) and Cam Percy (T46 at +5) also banked important cheques as their respective chases to earn a 2018 card gather momentum.