Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas took a major step toward returning for his second consecutive Presidents Cup after carding weekend rounds of 67-66 at THE PLAYERS Championship to finish T3 – his second top-10 of the season – and jump from No. 83 to No. 19 in the Presidents Cup International Team standings.
Aussie stalwarts and past PLAYERS champions Jason Day and Adam Scott both finished inside the top 15 at TPC Sawgrass. Day (T8) earned a spot in the final round’s penultimate pairing but was unable to mount a charge with an even-par 72, while Scott’s 2-under 70 left him with a T12 result on the 15-year anniversary of his PLAYERS victory. Day and Scott are two of four Aussies inside the top 10 in the International Team standings, joining Marc Leishman (No. 1) and Cameron Smith (No. 3).
On the U.S. Team standings, 48-year-old Jim Furyk was the top American at THE PLAYERS with a solo runner-up result and moved from No. 82 to No. 41 in the standings, while Dustin Johnson earned his first top-10 finish in the event in 11 starts at THE PLAYERS and became the first player to card all four rounds in the 60s at TPC Sawgrass since 1997. Johnson’s T5 finish bolstered his position at No. 2 in the standings behind Justin Thomas, who finished T35.
The Presidents Cup will return to Melbourne, Australia and The Royal Melbourne Golf Club for the third time, December 9-15, 2019, when the International Team, led by Captain Ernie Els, will take on the U.S. Team led by Captain Tiger Woods.
Vegas’ bogey-free, final-round 66 included a birdie from 69 feet, 7 inches on the famous island green at the 17th hole, which set a record for the longest putt made on that hole. The improbable birdie elevated Vegas into a momentary share of the lead before having to settle for his career-best result at THE PLAYERS.
“The Presidents Cup is my No. 1 goal this year,” Vegas said after the round. “One, after playing in 2017 I had such an amazing experience there that I really wanted to do it again. And two, playing for Ernie Els it just doesn’t get any better. He’s one of the guys whom I have admired throughout the years, as much as he’s done for international golf, just to be a part of that team would be a dream come true.”
In 2017, Vegas became the first player from Venezuela to compete in the Presidents Cup, which increased the total number of countries represented to 14.
Elsewhere in the International Team standings, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama moved from No. 4 to No. 2 in the standings with a T8 finish at THE PLAYERS after weekend rounds of 66-67. Matsuyama is in search of his fourth Presidents Cup appearance.
Reigning Australian Open champion Abraham Ancer nearly brought Mexico its first PLAYERS title after sharing the lead for most of the front nine at TPC Sawgrass, but a 2-over back nine and even-par final round left the 28-year-old with a T12 finish. Ancer remained in the No. 6 position in the International Team standings in his quest to become the first player from Mexico to qualify for the Presidents Cup.
South Africa’s Justin Harding has also emerged as a contender for a place on the International Team, moving to No. 7 in the standings. Harding won the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters two weeks ago for his first European Tour title and followed it up with a T2 at the Magical Kenya Open on Sunday. Last year, the 33-year-old won four times, twice each on the Sunshine Tour and Asian Tour.
The top 15 players in the International and U.S. Presidents Cup Team Standings as of March 18, 2019 are listed below:
Rank Player Country Points
1. Marc Leishman Australia 124.87
2. Hideki Matsuyama Japan 103.56
3. Cameron Smith Australia 103.33
4. Haotong Li China 92.98
5. Louis Oosthuizen South Africa 86.11
6. Abraham Ancer Mexico 83.92
7. Justin Harding South Africa 79.14
8. Jason Day Australia 75.40
9. Adam Scott Australia 70.37
10. Shugo Imahira Japan 66.18
11. Si Woo Kim Korea 62.50
12. Jazz Janewattananond Thailand 58.83
13. Emiliano Grillo Argentina 58.55
14. Branden Grace South Africa 57.90
15. Kiradech Aphibarnrat Thailand 57.03
Rank Player Points
1. Justin Thomas 5,170
2. Dustin Johnson 4,944
3. Xander Schauffele 4,536
4. Bryson DeChambeau 4,384
5. Brooks Koepka 4,157
6. Rickie Fowler 3,678
7. Matt Kuchar 3,429
8. Tony Finau 3,420
9. Phil Mickelson 3,386
10. Gary Woodland 3,359
11. Webb Simpson 2,999
12. Charles Howell III 2,995
13. Patrick Cantlay 2,982
14. Bubba Watson 2,616
15. Patrick Reed 2,454
International Team eligibility criteria
The top eight (8) international players (excluding those eligible for the European Ryder Cup team) from the Presidents Cup International Team Points List which shall be Official World Golf Ranking points accumulated in the time period from August 27, 2018 (Dell Technologies Championship) through August 25, 2019 (TOUR Championship).
Four Captain’s selections will be made at a to-be-determined later date.
U.S. Team eligibility criteria
The top eight (8) U.S. PGA TOUR members who have earned the most FedExCup points from September 11, 2017 (2017 BMW Championship) through 2019 TOUR Championship, weighted as follows:
(a) 2017 BMW Championship through 2018 TOUR Championship: 1 FedExCup point = 1 point
(b) First event of the 2018-2019 season through 2019 TOUR Championship: 1 FedExCup point = 2 points
Four Captain’s selections will be made at a to-be-determined later date.
The return to Melbourne, Australia, will mark the third time in the biennial event’s 25-year history it has been held at the renowned Sandbelt course, as the event was previously held in Melbourne in 1998 and 2011 at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
The 2019 Presidents Cup will bring the very best for fans interested in world-class team competition with the top 12 players from the United States taking on the top 12 from across the globe, excluding Europe. While golf fans can expect an incredible atmosphere and unmatched access to the competition, the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne will be a social, lifestyle and business gathering that will bring all backgrounds and interests together to enjoy a week-long festival atmosphere. On the course, players from across the world will be celebrated for their achievements, sportsmanship and love of the game. Off the course, fans will be able to find culinary options from around the world as well as hospitality and fan venues to match all levels of spectating and socializing, all while enjoying the very best in Australian culture.
The oldest golf club in Australia, The Royal Melbourne Golf Club was founded in 1891 and moved to its current location in 1926, becoming the anchor of what is now known as the Sandbelt. The gem of Australian golf, The Royal Melbourne Golf Club has two courses, both ranked in the World’s Top 100, which were designed by the legendary Alister MacKenzie. In 1959, in order to host the first of many international tournaments, 12 holes of the West Course and six from the East Course were combined to create what is known as the Composite Course, which also hosted the 2013 World Cup of Golf, won by Jason Day and Adam Scott.
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