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Cantlay not helped by top 10 at Pebble

Tuesday - 2/12/2013, 8:39pm  ET

Patrick Cantlay, right, wears gloves as he approaches the 16th green on the Spyglass Hill Golf Course during the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, in Pebble Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

AP Golf Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The good news for Patrick Cantlay is that he'll tee it up Thursday at Riviera in his hometown tournament.

He can only hope it doesn't cost him down the road.

Cantlay, who shot 60 at the Travelers Championship in 2011 while still at UCLA, was given a sponsor's exemption to the Northern Trust Open, one of seven he is allowed this year because is not a PGA Tour member. It looked as if he wouldn't have to use it when Cantlay closed with a 67 at Pebble Beach and tied for ninth. Anyone finishing in the top 10 gets into the next open tournament.

But that's when everything seemed to conspire against him.

The field at Riviera is so strong that it already was filled with regular members. There was no room left for top-10 players from the previous week.

"There's only a few occasions in the last five to 10 years when a top-10 category was the last man in the field," said Tyler Dennis, the tour's vice president of competition. As for no one from the top 10 getting in? "Very rare," he said.

James Hahn and Patrick Reed, graduates of the Tour and Q-school, finished ahead of Cantlay at Pebble. They didn't get in, either, instead going to the top of the alternate list. By Monday, they were in the tournament after Hank Kuehne and Jhonattan Vegas withdrew.

Cantlay ordinarily would have been next on the alternate list. But on noon Monday, he was removed from the alternate list because he already was in the field on a sponsor's exemption. This is his fourth exemption of the year. It would have been handy for Cantlay to save that exemption later in the year.

Dennis said the tour's regulation allows for a player's top-10 finish to carry over into the next event -- the Honda Classic, in this case -- if he doesn't get in a tournament. But it doesn't apply in this case because Cantlay is playing the Northern Trust Open.

The only way to save that exemption would have been taking a big risk -- pull him out of the tournament before noon Monday with hopes that enough players would have withdrawn for him to make it into the field as an alternate.

Pebble Beach was Cantlay's first cut this year, and he made $175,500. That will help in his bid to reach a level where he could get unlimited exemptions. But by having to use the sponsor exemption, it puts a little more pressure on him to play his best in the limited starts he has.


SURPRISE ADDITION: Fredrik Jacobson didn't realize how close he came to qualifying for the Match Play Championship, and he didn't really care. He has struggled with back injuries during his career, so he was mostly happy to feel healthy and tie for seventh at Pebble Beach.

It worked out well in the end.

Jacobson missed out on the last spot at Match Play by 0.0002 points when Patrick Reed birdied the last hole to share seventh place. Two days later, however, Brandt Snedeker withdrew from the Match Play with sore ribs, and Jacobson was in.

He is No. 66 in the world, and a good showing could help him crack the top 50 and get into next World Golf Championship at Doral, and possibly work his way to Augusta.

"There's a lot of points to play for," Jacobson said. "Any week if you play well or have a really good week, you're going to make a jump. Obviously, a week where you're getting a chance to play it's going to make a difference. It's another opportunity. It's a good time in the year for me to get to play quite a bit of golf."

Jacobson has played the Match Play twice, both times when it was at La Costa. He lost to Tiger Woods in the third round in 2004, and to Chad Campbell in the opening round the following year.


BRITISH OPEN CHANGES: Players no longer will have to figure out special money lists to determine whether they can get into the British Open.

The Royal & Ancient made a few tweaks to its qualifying process this year. Instead of a special money list on the PGA Tour and European Tour, that has been eliminated in favor of additional spots on their money lists much closer to the Open.

A year ago, three spots were available from the FedEx Cup standings after the Colonial in May. Two spots were available from a special money list that consisted of The Players Championship and five tournaments through the Greenbrier Classic. Now, the special money list is gone and five spots will be available from the FedEx Cup standings after the Greenbrier.

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