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Mark O'Meara holds on to Tour card, just

Mark O'Meara felt the kind of pressure most rookies experience late in the year. Every shot counted if he wanted to keep his PGA Tour card.

O'Meara, who missed the last two months of last season with a wrist injury, was given a minor medical exemption this year. That gave him eight tournaments to make $79,396, the amount he fell short of 125th on the money list. The Zurich Classic of New Orleans was his final event under the exemption, and he needed $10,982.

"I felt like a rookie out there trying to keep my card," O'Meara said. "Everyone says it should be easy to make 80 grand. Sometimes it's not when your confidence is off."

The first step was to make the cut. The two-time major champion was above the cut line with three holes to play Friday when he chipped in for birdie on the 16th, two-putted for par from long range on the 17th, then hit a wedge into 10 feet for birdie on the 18th to make the cut.

Finishing 70th would give him the money he needed, but when 83 players made the cut, O'Meara still had work left. Had he finished 71st, O'Meara would have come up $2 short.

Starting the final round in a tie for 58th, O'Meara opened with 10 straight pars before chipping in from 50 yards for an eagle on the par-5 second hole and making a birdie on the par-5 seventh. He closed with two straight bogeys for a 71 to tie for 52nd, earning $12,697, making it by $1,805.

"I haven't played well the last couple of years, but confidence is a big thing," O'Meara said.

O'Meara, 48, now plays out the season under a major medical extension. That means he no longer has to beg for sponsor's exemptions -- he already had them lined up for the next two weeks -- and all but assures he will have his card until he is old enough for the Champions Tour.


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