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As Patrick Cantlay lifted the FedExCup trophy Sunday evening at East Lake, another former college player of the year by the same first name had also capped a significant performance.
No, Patrick Rodgers didn’t collect $15 million, but his closing 5-under 67 and T-15 finish Sunday at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship was lucrative in a different kind of way. After missing the PGA Tour’s playoffs, Rodgers finished the three-event Finals ranked 20th in points to retain his Tour card.
“I am so grateful,” tweeted Rodgers, who is from Avon, Indiana, less than three hours from Victoria National, which hosted this week’s KFT finale.
Like Cantlay, the past UCLA standout who won the 2011 Haskins Award, Rodgers was all-everything in three years at Stanford. He captured the 2014 Haskins Award while tying Tiger Woods on the Cardinal’s career wins list with 11. But since turning pro, Rodgers hasn’t enjoyed the success as his former college peers Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele and Daniel Berger.
The 29-year-old Rodgers joined the Tour before the 2015-16 season and has yet to lose his card, though he also hasn’t won. He’s finished second three times and third twice more. This season he was No. 128 in FedExCup points, missing the playoffs by just three spots.
But he’ll get another full season to try and record that breakthrough win. So, too, will fellow Stanford alum Joseph Bramlett, the 33-year-old who overcame a serious, potentially career-ending back injury six years ago. Bramlett returned to the Tour in 2019 for the first time since 2011, and this season was No. 146 in FedExCup points.
Bramlett also closed in 65 Sunday, as he finished at 20 under, four shots clear of the field for his first professional victory. The win also moved him to the top of the Finals points list, which will earn him a Players Championship start next season in addition to full status.
“It’s a huge deal, man,” Bramlett said. “Every week you’re playing for life-changing opportunities. Yeah, it took me a long time to get my card back in 2019, and it was one of the biggest days of my life. So, I’m just so excited and congratulatory to everybody who got their first card today. It’s a really, really big deal.”
Other notables who locked up their Tour cards via the Finals top 25 included: Trey Mullinax, a member of Alabama’s back-to-back NCAA-title teams, in 2013 and 2014; South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout, the highest-ranked player in the Finals at No. 50 in the OWGR; Sahith Theegala, the 2020 Haskins Award winner and Pepperdine product; Matthias Schwab, an Olympian this year and former Vanderbilt standout; European Tour regulars Aaron Rai, Lucas Hebert and Kurt Kitayama; and Justin Lower, the 32-year-old Malone University grad with just four career PGA Tour starts who earned the 25th and final card via the Finals.