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Hurricane threat wipes out final Tour Finals event

Associated Press Associated Press 5/10/2016 By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The final event for players to earn PGA Tour cards was canceled Wednesday because of Hurricane Matthew, cutting short the four-tournament qualifying series and cost one hard-luck player his card by $392.

The Tour Championship was to start Thursday at Atlantic Beach Country Club.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry ordered an evacuation for the beaches near Jacksonville, including Atlantic Beach, and the PGA Tour felt it had little choice but to scratch the tournament so everyone could get out of town.

"It is unfortunate that we've had to cancel our season-ending event," Tour President Bill Calfee said. "However, our first priority is the safety of our players, fans, volunteers and staff."

Golf Channel was busy taking down its platforms and towers used to televise the event.

The Web.Com Tour Finals consists of four $1 million tournaments. The top 25 from the regular season are assured their cards, while 25 more cards are awarded based on a money list from those four events. The money list instead is final from three events.

The final card went to Tim Wilkinson of New Zealand, beating out Rob Oppenheim by $392. A year ago, Oppenheim got the final card by $101.

The Tour Finals typically are held in four straight weeks. This year, the tour opted for a week off between the third and final event so that the Tour Championship would not go up against the Ryder Cup.

That left no time to postpone the final event by one week because the PGA Tour season starts next week at the Safeway Open in Napa, California.

Wesley Bryan won the regular-season money title and with three victories earned an instant promotion to the PGA Tour. Grayson Murray won the Tour Finals money list, making him eligible for The Players Championship next May.

The priority ranking, the list that determines who gets into tournaments, alternates between the top 25 from the regular season and the top 25 from the Tour Finals. Among those who earned their cards through the finals were former U.S. Amateur champion Bryson DeChambeau and past PGA Tour winners Scott Stallings, Will MacKenzie, Rod Pampling, D.A. Points and Rory Sabbatini.

Oppenheim, who made it to the PGA Tour last year for the first time at age 36, will be relegated to the Tour. Also failing to get full PGA Tour status were Erik Compton, Mark Wilson and Camilo Villegas.

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