Arjun Atwal makes it to Honda Classic

Atwal comes through the toughest Monday Qualifier to make it to the USD 7 million golf tournament.

File Photo: Arjun Atwal carded 67 and grabbed one of the four spots available.

Arjun Atwal earned a spot in the USD 7 million Honda Classic golf tournament after coming through the toughest Monday Qualifier on the PGA Tour at the Banyan Bay Resort in West Palm Beach here.

Atwal and Canada’s Adam Svensson shot 67, and three others carded 66 each, but Atwal still had a chance as four spots were up for grabs. There was a playoff and Atwal came up trumps after chipping in for an eagle to grab the last spot.

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Monday Qualifiers are a difficult way of getting into a tournament. The entry costs USD 450 and a lot of heartbreaks. This year, there were 458 starters for pre-qualifiers and the Final Qualifier, and only four spots were available.

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But Atwal loves the adrenaline, he once said. In 2010, he won a Monday Qualifier for Wyndham Championship and became only the third man since 1986 to win a tournament through that route.

Not the first time

Kenny Knox did it at the Honda Classic in 1986, while Fred Wadsworth did the same at Southern Open the same year. Last year, Corey Conners joined the exclusive club by ‘Monday Qualifying’ and winning the Texas Open.

After the 2010 Wyndham success, Atwal came through a Monday Qualifier again last year at the 3M Open and was in contention for first two days — he was fourth and seventh and still in top-10 after 54 holes before slipping to T-23 on Sunday. Rookie Matthew Wolff won his maiden title.

This year’s Honda Classic Monday Qualifier had 13 different PGA Tour winners, including Atwal at Banyan Cay. The players, from more than a dozen different countries, had a combined 23 European Tour wins and 41 Korn Ferry Tour wins. The field’s total PGA Tour earnings were in excess of USD 212 million.

The names included the likes of Tour winners Jonathan Byrd, David Lingmerth and Atwal; veteran Australians John Senden and Robert Allenby; 2016 Olympian Seamus Power of Ireland; and Arnold Palmer’s grandson Sam Saunders.