The good news is Collin Morikawa gets to play golf next week, when he will be seeded 11th entering the season-ending Tour Championship, which determines the champion of the FedEx Cup playoffs.
But the 24-year-old Cal grad will need to play substantially better if he hopes to challenge for the $15 million first prize.
Morikawa had his best round of the week Sunday at the BMW Championship, shooting a 3-under 69. It got him under par for the tournament but he still finished in a tie for 63rd place with a four-day score of 2-under 286.
Fellow Cal alum Max Homa also had a final-round 69 and wound up tied with Morikawa.
While the 30-year-old Homa’s best-ever professional season ($3.4 million in prize money) is complete, Morikawa moves on to Atlanta for the season finale.
He began the three-week FedEx Cup playoffs atop the points standings, albeit barely, but he hasn’t played consistent golf since injuring his back in the opening round of the Tokyo Olympics a month ago.
Morikawa missed the cut at The Northern Trust a week ago, slipping to sixth in the FedEx Cup standings. Now he’s 11th, meaning he will begin play in the 30-player event with a score of 3-under par.
That sounds great, except that Patrick Cantlay will start at 10 under after winning the BMW title in a six-hole playoff vs. Bryson DeChambeau on Sunday at Owings Mills, Maryland. Cantlay made a 18-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to end the marathon match.
Both golfers shot 66 on Sunday and were at 27 under par through 72 holes.
Tony Finau starts Thursday at 8 under, DeChambeau 7 under and Jon Rahm 6 under. Rahm, who entered this week ranked No. 1 in the world and promptly shot a first-round 64, carded a 70 for the second straight day and wound up tied for ninth, nine strokes back of the leaders.
Morikawa, who said early this week that his back was better but his swing was messed up, shot 72 and 75 in the first two rounds, completing 18 holes on Friday without a birdie for the first time in his professional career.
He improved to 70 on Saturday then had five birdies in the final round on the way to his 69.
Here are the 30 players who qualified for the Tour Championship next week and the strokes they receive to start play:
1. Patrick Cantlay -10
2. Tony Finau -8
3. Bryson DeChambeau -7
4. Jon Rahm -6
5. Cam Smith -5
6. Justin Thomas -4
7. Harris English -4
8. Abraham Ancer -4
9. Jordan Spieth -4
10. Sam Burns -4
11. Collin Morikawa -3
12. Sungjae Im -3
13. Viktor Hovland -3
14. Louis Oosthuizen -3
15. Dustin Johnson -3
16. Rory McIlroy -2
17. Xander Schauffele -2
18. Jason Kokrak -2
19. Kevin Na -2
20. Brooks Koepka -2
21. Corey Conners -1
22. Hideki Matsuyama -1
23. Stewart Cink -1
24. Joaquin Niemann -1
25. Scottie Scheffler -1
26. Daniel Berger E
27.Erik van Rooyen E
28. Sergio Garcia E
29. Billy Horschel E
30. Patrick Reed E
Cover photo of Collin Morikawa by Scott Taetsch, USA Today
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo