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High stakes for Luck in Virginia

Curtis Luck faces the possibility of a life-changing week at The Greenbrier. (Photo: Getty Images)
The odds are stacked against him but Curtis Luck stands on the verge of achieving something very special in the game this week in Virginia.

The 20-year-old reigning US Amateur champion could all but play his way to the PGA Tour with a good performance at the Greenbrier Classic this week, a feat reserved only for the truly elite.

Luck’s brilliant play at last week’s Quicken Loans National in Maryland has given him a glimmer of hope of avoiding a year on the secondary Web.com Tour; his next 72 holes of competitive golf potentially career-changing.

The technicalities of earning a place on the PGA Tour are complex but, put simply, if Luck can finish outright second this week, his chances of being a member of the Tour in 2018 are all but assured.

That finish would give Luck enough FedEx Cup points to surpass the 150th player on last year’s standings (Greg Owen) and earn him what is known as Special Temporary Membership.

The value of that category is normally the unlimited sponsor invitations it gives a player access to, but with just five full field events remaining after this week, that is of little help to Luck.

What is of value, however, is that as a Special Temporary Member, he becomes eligible to qualify for next year’s Tour via this year’s FedEx Cup standings.

Should he achieve Special Temporary Member status, Luck would then have to finish inside the top 125 by the Wyndham Championship in August to lock up his card.

At this stage, Luck has accrued 112 FedEx Cup points for the season and needs to get to 319 to become a Special Temporary Member.

There are 500 points on offer for a win (which comes with automatic membership and a two-year exemption anyway) while second place earns 300, third gets 190 and fourth 135.

Even a third-place finish would get Luck very close to earning Temporary status. From there, he will likely need somewhere in the region of 450 points to climb into the top 125 and be a card-carrying PGA Tour player in 2018.

It is mathematically possible but will require the talented youngster to produce some of the best golf he is capable of if he is to get there, much of his future hanging on his play this week.

While he is just one of eight Australians teeing up this week, Luck’s is the most compelling story among them.

Geoff Ogilvy, Matt Jones, Cameron Percy, Greg Chalmers, Stuart Appleby, Brett Drewitt and Steven Bowditch are also at the Old White TPC Course this week and all have something to play for.

Ogilvy is on the verge of getting back to the Tour after using a one-time only career money list exemption to play in 2017.

Jones, who was agonisingly close to keeping his card last year but finished 126th in the standings, is on the verge of redemption at 132nd.

And Appleby will get to bask in the glory of the incredible Sunday 59 that brought him victory at the Old White TPC Course in 2010.

But none have as much at stake as Curtis Luck, and for Australian golf fans, this will be the story of the week.


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