Final-week surge: Ben Martin plays his way into Tour finale

Martin and former teammate Sam Saunders make the 60-man final at TPC Craig Ranch

Ben Martin (AP photo).

Ben Martin (AP photo).

Ben Martin's up-and-down ride on the Tour is ending on a high note, as the former Clemson star played his way into the season-ending Tour Championship at TPC Craig's Ranch in McKinney, Tex. with a third-place finish at last week's regular-season finale.

Martin's third-place showing at the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open vaulted him from 92nd place to 60th place on the Your money list, and into the 60-man field for the final event of the season.

Martin enhanced his chances both of regaining the PGA Tour card he had as a rookie, or of solidifying his standing and playing status for next year's Tour.

Martin finished with an eight-under score at Jacksonville, after rounds of 67-69-68-68.

He will be one of two former Tigers playing in the Tour Championship. Former teammate Sam Saunders earned his spot by finishing 53rd on the money list.

Saunders made the cut in 12 of 22 tournaments and had three top-10 finishes - second in the Utah Championship in July, fifth at the BMW Charity Pro-Am in May, and eighth earlier this month at the Neediest Kids Championship.

Martin made the cut in 14 of 23 events. He played well at the end of the summer, with a sixth-place finish at the Midwest Classic in August and a 19th-place showing at the Albertson's Boise Open in September, but then missed four straight cuts before finishing third at Jacksonville.

Matt Hendrix finished just outside the Tour's top 60, at No. 72, and was followed by No. 93 Kevin Johnson, No. 106 Charles Warren and No. 155 Brent Delahoussaye.

Hendrix finished 10th in last week's tournament with a one-under total after rounds of 68-73-69-69. Saunders finished 41st with scores of 70-69-68-77, and Danny Ellis also made the cut.

Six former Tigers finished in the top 50 on the eGolf Professional Tour, led by David May at No. 11. Delahoyssaye was 14th, Brian Duncan 21st, Stephen Poole 37th, Phillip Mollica 41st and Corbin Mills 49th.

Mollica finished his season with a second-place finish in the Northstone Open. He had a four-round total of 11 under par.

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