July 01, 2017: Arjun Atwal, 44, plays plenty of golf. It’s just that he plays it at his home club, Isleworth, with fellow members. The stakes: pride, and maybe a few bucks. But Arjun has rediscovered his magic this week to go into the weekend lying in T4 at 5-under with rounds of 68 and 67. David Lingmerth enjoys a two stroke lead over Geoff Ogilvy after posting 65 on both days. Ogilvy also shot 65 on Friday to add to his 67 in the first round.
With little status on the PGA TOUR, Atwal, who was born in India but makes his home in Orlando, is making just his fifth tournament start this year at the Quicken, where he’s playing on a sponsor exemption. Three of those starts have been in Asia, and just one, the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis three weeks ago, on TOUR. (He Monday-qualified for it.)
“They were all a month apart,” Atwal said at the Quicken at TPC Potomac, where he’s five back after rounds of 68-67. “It’s been hard to get into any kind of rhythm. But I finished like 15th at my last Asian Tour event in Japan, so the game feels pretty good.”
Atwal’s lone TOUR win came at the 2010 Wyndham Championship, where he became the first Monday qualifier to go on to win since Fred Wadsworth at the 1986 Southern Open. The last time Atwal shot consecutive rounds under par on TOUR was at last year’s Quicken Loans, which he also got into on a sponsor exemption. (He is pals with tournament host Tiger Woods.)
In other words, it’s been a while.
Still, he isn’t ready to retire. Atwal is exempt on the Asian Tour, where he picked up his last tournament victory at the 2014 Dubai Open, but doesn’t particularly want to play there. At least not all the time.
“It’s a place for me to play right now just to get the tournaments in,” he said. “But the travel kills me. I’m 44 years old, and every time I get on that flight, there’s jet lag, the body hurts—it’s just tough.”
Based on his status, he thinks he might get into the Barbasol Championship and the Barracuda Championship, and maybe the Wyndham Championship as a past champion. Beyond that, he’ll play in more Monday qualifiers, and a top-10 finish at TPC Potomac would get him into The Greenbrier Classic next week.
Stranger things have happened.
“I still want to play here,” Atwal said, “so if I can get some reps and keep playing tournaments, it’d be good for me.”
PGA TOUR Report