BEACHWOOD, Ohio — Nicholas Lindheim made a downhill, 35-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole after bogeying the final two holes in regulation and won the DAP Championship on Sunday to regain his PGA Tour card.
Lindheim, who lost in a playoff in this Web.com Tour Finals event last year, hit every green in regulation on the front nine and held the lead from the third hole on. But he missed his tee shot well left on the par-4 18th at Canterbury Golf Club, punched out and failed to get up and down. He shot a 1-over 71 to join Rob Oppenheim (67) and Chesson Hadley (69) in the playoff.
Given a fresh start, the 32-year-old self-taught player quickly capitalized.
"I think last year I was just content being in the playoff," Lindheim said. "It was destiny. That’s all I can say."
The event was the third of four tournaments that determine 25 PGA Tour cards. The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings and non-members with enough money to place in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup had they been eligible.
The good news for Lindheim was that merely getting into the playoff was enough to earn his PGA Tour card after he finished 197th in the FedEx Cup in his rookie season.
"Winning on this golf course proves to me that I have what it takes to play some very good golf courses. I didn’t really prove that this year," Lindheim said. "I got my butt beat in pretty hard, but I hope that I can feed off of this and know that I can play championship-venue golf."
Hadley, who won last week in Boise, Idaho, took a commanding lead atop the combined money list from the Web.com Tour regular season and Finals, earning fully exempt status on the PGA Tour and a spot in the Players Championship. He has won $295,000 in the three Finals events and leads Peter Uihlein by $109,000, and he’s guaranteed to win at least one of the two money lists.
"That’s awesome. That’s huge," Hadley said. "I’m fully exempt out there, and it allows me to take weeks off."
Oppenheim also got his card back after finishing just outside the top 25 on the Web.com Tour regular-season money list.
As usual, much of the drama came further down the leaderboard as players scrambled to secure their cards.
The other players to guarantee themselves PGA Tour privileges were Keith Mitchell, Troy Merritt, Martin Piller, Corey Conners, Brett Stegmaier, Denny McCarthy, Bronson Burgoon and Joel Dahmen. Mitchell finished 26th on the regular season money list and missed his card by one shot.
"I know we’ve got one more tournament, but it’s such a weight off my shoulders going into that week and the rest of the year," Mitchell said.
Zac Blair, who finished 126th in the FedEx Cup and came within one stroke of retaining his PGA Tour card, is on the bubble again. He bogeyed the 17th hole to shoot 71 and heads into next week’s Web.com Tour Championship at 26th on the Finals list.
Knowing what was at stake, Steve Wheatcroft kicked his golf bag in anger after a poor shot from a fairway bunker on 18. He ended up saving par to shoot 70 and is 23rd in the standings.