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PGA Tour playing cards will be on the line at Shriners

The PGA Tour is back this week with the launch of FedEx Cup Fall, a seven-event series that includes the Shriners Children’s Open and will play a huge role in which players have jobs come January.

The Fortinet Championship in Napa, California, begins Thursday and offers a glimpse of what Las Vegas golf fans can expect when the Shriners rolls around next month.

Despite its name and fanfare, last month’s Tour Championship did not end the 2023 golf season. The FedEx Cup playoffs solidified playing status for the top 50 players in the FedEx Cup standings, guaranteeing them playing cards for 2024 and entry into all of the signature events — with their $20 million purses — on the schedule.

FedEx Fall allows players to continue to accumulate points to try to finish in the top 125, guaranteeing them full playing cards for 2024, or top 150 giving them conditional status for the coming season. It also features a separate competition where the top 10 finishers in the fall series earn entry into the first two signature events in 2024.

In addition to those position battles, players from the top 50 are still eligible to play in fall events, and many will do so to stay tournament sharp and not simply set aside their clubs for four months.

“I’m very optimistic our field will be very similar to years past and very competitive,” said Patrick Lindsey, executive director of the Shriners event. “Those top guys need to stay competitive and still need to play, so I expect we will see some of them.”

This week’s event is an example of that scenario. Six players from the top 50 are in the field in Napa, topped by defending champion Max Homa, the No. 7 player in the world rankings. Lindsey and PGA Tour officials expect that trend to continue throughout the fall season.

The fall will be important to a number of Las Vegas golfers looking to keep their playing status, from those relatively safe to those on the outside looking in.

That list includes Taylor Montgomery (53rd), Justin Suh (81st), Harry Hall (88th), Joseph Bramlett (89th), David Lipsky (98th), Maverick McNealy (108th), Doug Ghim (117th), Scott Piercy (130th) and Ryan Moore (150th).

Players already holding their 2024 cards include Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, Kurt Kitayama and Seamus Power.

Chip shots

— A pair of UNLV golfers qualified for the U.S. Women’s Four-Ball Championship. Madeleine Laux and McKenzi Hall combined for a 5-under 67 at the Southern Nevada qualifier at Las Vegas Golf Club to earn the only available spot into the tournament, which will be played next May at Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio. Alaythia Hinds and Erica Villegas are first alternates.

— Two teams qualified for the U.S. Men’s Four-Ball Championship at the Southern Nevada qualifier at Mountain Falls Golf Club in Pahrump. Scott Lytle and Matthew Mitchell were medalists with a 10-under 62, while Brett Kanda and Grant Haney grabbed the second spot with a 9-under 63. Rob Stratton and Daniel Starzinski are first alternates. The tournament will be played next May at the Philadelphia Cricket Club.

— Las Vegas Golf Club will host the Bombers Paradise two-person scramble on Sept. 24 with a 7:30 a.m. shotgun start. Cost is $168 per team.

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. Reach him at grobertson@reviewjournal.com.

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