Starting early Sunday morning because they were far back in the standings at The Barclays, Johnson Wagner and Korean Sung Kang took advantage of soft conditions and both shot 7-under-par 64 to become the fifth and sixth players to tie the course record at Bethpage Black.
Wagner, a native of upstate Garrison who won the 2001 Met Open as an amateur by shooting a final-round 66 at the Black, often used to sleep in his car at Bethpage State Park for early tee times. He had one Sunday at 7:40 a.m. and started with five birdies in seven holes. He bogeyed the ninth, but three back-nine birdies, including at No. 18, gave him a share of the record.
“This golf course is so hard,” he said. “I had perfect conditions. Drove the ball on a string today. Made a lot of putts. It was a perfect day.”
Wagner began the week at 92nd in the FedExCup standings and was in danger of falling out of the top 100 that advance to the Deutsche Bank Classic this week in Boston, but he jumped to 69th. Kang moved from 122nd to 88th to advance.
“I was really thinking after today I would just go to New York and have some vacation and go back home and rest,” Kang said. “I had a great day today, and I’m looking forward to playing next week.”
Reed praises spectators
The Barclays champion Patrick Reed praised the raucous Bethpage Black crowd despite being heckled at the 17th green before he made a key par-saving putt Sunday. “The crowds are crazy,” he said. “They are awesome. You don’t go to golf tournaments very often and have crowds literally come up with chants . . . If people start to heckle you, then you can try and prove them wrong. It was a lot of fun. It felt like you were almost playing football.”
Top 100 advance
Three other players moved into the top 100 to advance, including runnerup Sean O’Hair (108th to 15th), Tyrone Van Aswegen (104th to 93rd) and Derek Fathauer (118th to 99th). St. John’s alum Keegan Bradley, a New England native who considers Boston home turf, started at 106th and finished at 103rd to fall short.