Rain and Delays at RSM Classic Shape Season-Ending Picture
Players Battling for FedExCup Points Dominate Day 1 Leaderboard
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – The opening round at the RSM Classic was marred by a cold rain and multiple delays, causing the tournament to spill over into Friday. However, amidst the challenging conditions, the season-ending picture has started to crystalize with several players making significant moves on the FedExCup Fall points list.
Players vying to secure their positions inside the top 60, top 125, and top 150 on the FedExCup Fall points list dominated the Day 1 leaderboard. Notably, Russell Knox, currently ranked 146th on the points list, opened with an impressive 66, earning him a share of 10th place. Knox’s strong performance projected him to move up to No. 140, bringing him a few steps closer to the coveted top 125, which guarantees full exemption for the 2024 season.
“I draw so much inspiration from Camilo [Villegas] the last couple of weeks. You just never know when it’s all going to turn around. A lot of the things that he said in his interviews is exactly the way I felt. The word ‘demons’ comes to mind,” said Knox, who trailed the leader by two shots. “I mean, golf, after being out here for 12 years for me, and even longer for Camilo, it’s a challenging game.”
A few weeks ago, Villegas found himself outside the top 200 in FedExCup points. However, he managed to finish T-2-Win in a recent tournament, securing his card for the next two seasons.
Tommy Gainey also made a remarkable push, similar to Knox’s, by carding a 66 on the Seaside Course. This propelled Gainey from 211th on the points list to a projected 199th, placing him within sight of the top 150 threshold. If he maintains his position, Gainey will earn conditional status for the upcoming season.
When play was halted at 5:17 p.m. ET, multiple players were projected to move in and out of the top 125, top 150, and top 60. These benchmarks are crucial as they fall under the “Next 10” category, granting players access to two of next year’s first three signature events, including the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and The Genesis Invitational.
There was plenty of movement around all three bubbles. Charley Hoffman, currently ranked 150th, is projected to drop to 151st, making way for Kelly Kraft. Andrew Novak and Troy Merritt, ranked 125th and 123rd respectively, are projected to slip to 126th and 127th, with Henrik Norlander and Maverick McNealy moving into the top 125. J.J. Spaun and Sam Ryder, currently ranked 59th and 60th, are projected to drop to 62nd and 63rd, with Davis Thompson and Mark Hubbard moving into the top 60.