Denny McCarthy on verge of making Tour Championship for first time
WILMINGTON, Del. – Denny McCarthy knew he needed to be at his best this week – physically, mentally – if he wanted to tick off one of his season goals.
As one of the players on the wrong side of the top-30 bubble entering the BMW Championship, McCarthy couldn’t afford any unforeseen issues – but he admitted to being surprised by the sweltering conditions that players faced Friday at Wilmington Country Club, where temperatures soared into the low-90s with high humidity.
“My body wasn’t moving well,” he said. “Just felt terrible, honestly.”
Not eating and drinking enough on the course, McCarthy slogged to a 1-over 72 but said afterward that he was proud that it hadn’t been worse. Still, the over-par round bumped him six shots off the halfway lead and, most importantly, dropped him further down the points standings, potentially costing him a shot to crack the top 30 and qualify for the season-ending Tour Championship for the first time.
“But there’s no quit in me,” he said, “and I was a little disappointed after yesterday, but I played a really, really good round of golf today.”
Even on a burly Wilmington Country Club that has proved accommodating for some of the game’s longest hitters, McCarthy has been able to hold his own. Working with swing coach Brian Creghan, the 29-year-old McCarthy, in the midst of by far his best season as a pro, has added power and precision to an overall game that has largely been defined by his sublime putting.
A career-best five top-10s this season is proof of that.
“We’ve worked really hard to get my ball-striking up to a top-tier player,” he said. “It’s not quite there, but it’s gotten a lot better than what it used to be.”
McCarthy’s greatest weapon, of course, remains his putter. He’s the third-best on Tour statistically, and he filled it up all day during a Saturday 66 at the BMW: He needed 25 putts, holed 125 feet worth of putts and gained more than four strokes on the field (4.4) on the greens with the flatstick.
When he finished his third round, McCarthy was in the green for the first time – at No. 28, projected to be safe for the Tour Championship. He isn’t thinking about that goal and the various perks that come with it, including invitations to three of the four majors in 2023.
“I’m just coming out and trying to win a golf tournament,” he said. “I’ve been close for a while now. I think that mindset has worked well for me. I know I need to have a good finish – but winning is a pretty good finish, too.”