Chesson Hadley enters the final round of the 3M Open in solid position to secure his PGA Tour card for next season. Good thing. His wife already has plans if — no, when — that moment happens.
"Whenever he locks his card up," Amanda Hadley said, "we're going straight to Napa. I don't care what the babysitter charges. We are going to Napa."
That first bottle of wine will taste lovely after persevering through another frustrating season on the PGA Tour. Hadley has missed the cut more times than he's played on the weekend, but he rediscovered his touch at the right time to put himself in position to finish in the Top 125 in the all-important FedEx Cup standings.
Finishing 125th or better guarantees his tour card for next season. Hadley entered the 3M Open at 143rd.
Shooting 66 Saturday left him tied for eighth place at 10 under entering the final round. He feels confident he can secure his tour card Sunday with two events remaining on the schedule.
"We will be going to Napa, yes, 100 percent," he said. "I'm going to go play some good golf [Sunday]."
His tone was a lot different throughout the past two seasons, which Hadley described as "awful." He has missed the cut 14 times this season, including eight tournaments in a row.
"It wears on you mentally when you just keep missing cut after cut and start questioning everything," said Amanda, sitting in the clubhouse dining room while her husband completed his weather-delayed third round.
Hadley found himself 214th in the FedEx standings in early May, in danger of losing his card for the second time in his career.
"You wonder if you're ever going to play good again," he said. "You play poorly long enough, you start thinking, do I need to do something else? That's just your natural thought progression. I had no confidence. None. You have to dig it out of the dirt."
He had a month layoff before returning to play in the Travelers Championship in late June. He finished fifth in that event, then 10th in the John Deere Classic a week later. He's looking at another Top 10 finish here.
"I've resurrected myself a little bit," he said.
Hadley didn't secure his tour card for this season until the final round of the final event last summer. He and his wife were resigned to the fact that he would fall short. He entered the Wyndham Championship outside the Top 125 and was way down the leaderboard after 54 holes.
Amanda, who serves as her husband's business manager, usually attends half of the tournaments, along with their three children, all under age 9. She stayed home that week because she didn't want her husband to feel additional pressure.
Amanda didn't even check her phone for updates in the final round.
She missed a show.
Hadley shot a 62 that included his first career hole-in-one. His reaction went viral. He jumped and kicked up his feet and allowed himself to act goofy. At 6-4 with long, skinny limbs, he described his celebration as a "baby giraffe jumping into the air."
He choked back tears in his post-round TV interview.
"It's emotional because I care," he said. "I'm not just out here for fun. This is my job and I love it and I care very deeply about it."
He later learned that his final-round 62 allowed him to finish 125th in the standings. Just under the wire. He called his wife on the drive home to share the news.
"I started crying," she said.
Hadley is scheduled to play in Detroit next week before closing with the Wyndham Championship, which is held in Greensboro, North Carolina, a 90-minute drive from his Raleigh home.
Hadley might have his tour card locked up before then.
"Let's go post another 66 or lower," he said, "and then we can start counting our chickens."
And making plans for Napa.