When Bangor’s Jesse Speirs teed off Thursday morning at the Web.com Tour’s WinCo Foods Portland Open at the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Oregon, he knew what was at stake.
Speirs will probably have to finish at least among the top three to earn a spot in the Web.com playoffs because just the top 75 money-winners qualify for them.
Speirs shot a three-under-par 68 on Thursday.
Speirs is coming off his best showing on the tour, a 20th place finish at the News Sentinel Open in Knoxville, Tennessee, last weekend. He shot a 15-under-par 269.
He has made $19,464 and is 136th on the money list among 243 players.
The golfer currently sitting in 75th place is Timothy Madigan. He has made $57,846.
Fortunately for Speirs, this will be the most lucrative tourney to date with a total purse of $800,000.
Speirs has made the cut seven times in 16 events. He wasn’t included in the field in three tournaments because tour officials reshuffle the field based on the money list after a specific amount of tournaments, and if a golfer isn’t ranked high enough on the money list, he isn’t included.
Speirs, 29, admitted that missing those tournaments was “a little frustrating,” but he shouldered the blame, saying, “if I had played better, I wouldn’t have had to worry about the reshuffling.”
He is hoping to carry the momentum from last weekend into this tournament.
“I feel good about my game right now,” he said. “I’ve got to play good golf. I’m not going to put any added pressure on myself. There’s no need to do that.”
The top 25 money-winners on the tour earn their PGA Tour cards for next year. The top 75 are guaranteed a spot on the Web.com Tour. The golfers who finish from 76th-100th will avoid either one or two stages of the Web.com Tour qualifying school, depending upon where they finish.
“You need to finish among the top 100 to get anything out of the year. I’d like to do better. I’d like to get into the playoffs and keep my card for next year,” Speirs said. “If not, I’ll have to go back to the first stage [of qualifying school] and get it done again.”
Ryan Spears is No. 100 on the money list with $40,596 in winnings.