JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen capped off a rapidly-rising season with a final round seven-under 65 to finish fifth at the BMW Championship on Sunday, but more importantly secure his entry into the lucrative US PGA Tour Championship.
Van Rooyen ended on 21-under, six behind American Patrick Cantlay who beat countryman Bryson DeChambeau in a six-hole playoff. Van Rooyen’s fifth place enabled him to rise 18 spots to inside the top-30 in the FedExCup standings to 27th.
Only the top-30 on the FedExCup standings qualify for the Tour Championship starting on Thursday. The players who qualify receive automatic invites to all four Majors in 2022, and last place in the tournament will receive around 400 000 US dollars (R5.8m). Incidentally, his finish at the BMW Championship earned Van Rooyen 380 000 US dollars (R5.5m).
That means Van Rooyen will earn at least 780 000 US dollars, or R11.3m, over the final two weeks of the season. His earnings for the season currently stand at 2.2m US dollars which is around R32.4m.
Through May and mid-July, Van Rooyen missed six of seven cuts including at the PGA Championship, US Open and Open Championship. In fact, at the PGA Championship Van Rooyen made headlines for the wrong reasons - after depositing his tee shot into the water on the par three 17th hole during the second round, he then destroyed a tee marker in frustration as his temper got the better of him.
That was on May 21. By the end of July, Van Rooyen’s world ranking had slipped to 110th in the world and 139th in the FedEx Cup standings.
Congratulations to Louis Oosthuizen and Erik van Rooyen who both qualified for the 2021 Tour Championship which gets underway at @eastlakegc on Thursday.🏌️♂️🏆🇿🇦@PGATOUR @playofffinale#GreatnessBeginsHere #SunshineTour #FedExCup pic.twitter.com/9Tq0IpHZxh— Sunshine Tour (@Sunshine_Tour) August 30, 2021
That all changed at the Barracuda Championship at the beginning of August when Van Rooyen collected his first PGA Tour win. That victory ensured he would advance to the first tournament of the FedExCup playoffs. Last week he also finished seventh at the Northern Trust Open. He is also now ranked 55th in the world rankings.
“Obviously, it's my first full year on the PGA Tour, and it was a goal of mine to get there. … Six weeks ago, or so, I wasn't even sniffing it,” said Van Rooyen.
“[Before Barracuda, I was] a player knowing what he's capable of but struggling to find his feet and searching for a little bit of confidence. Now, it's almost completely flipped. I'm absolutely cruising and I'm playing some of the best golf I've ever played consistently.”
African News Agency (ANA)