NORTON - William McGirt honeymooned in Harwich, loves Boston, and has been a Red Sox fan since the day he saw Pedro Martinez beat the Twins at Fenway Park eight years ago.
Now he’s hoping the good vibes from a return to the area can help him play well enough at the Deutsche Bank Championship that his playoffs continue at least one more week.
Postseason pressure? McGirt already knows all about it. He needed to sweat it out two weeks ago before his spot in the FedEx Cup playoffs was even secured, at No. 125 the last man in the field. Then he used a first-round 64 to position himself nicely at the Barclays , eventually tying for 24th, which pushed him up to 96th.
Underdog? He doesn’t mind playing the role.
“All I’m trying to do is survive and advance. I’m sure it’s a great story, but for me I can’t really get caught up in that,’’ said McGirt, a 32-year-old from Fairmont, N.C., with no top-10 finishes in 29 career starts on the PGA Tour. “I seem to play my best when my back is against the wall. Knock on wood, my back is against the wall again this week.’’
McGirt would probably need to finish between 20th and 25th at TPC Boston to safely move into the top 70 and advance to the third playoff event. It also wouldn’t hurt his quest for a 2012 PGA Tour card.
Though he is 96th on the FedEx Cup points list, he is just 141st on the money list, with only the top 125 at season’s end earning their playing privileges for next year.
McGirt estimates that he needs another $300,000-$400,000 to make the cut and avoid a return to Qualifying School, where he tied for second last year.
“But the good news is, a good week this week and we keep moving on,’’ he said. “There’s plenty of opportunities left to lock up my card.’’
Doing so this week, near a few places that mean so much to him, would make it extra special.
Youth is served
State Street has opted not to sponsor a junior foursome for today’s pro-am, denying Megan Khang an opportunity to three-peat. But the 13-year-old from Rockland will still be playing this weekend, representing Team New England in the John D. Mineck DBC Junior Cup, to be held Saturday and Sunday at Boston Golf Club in Hingham.
Forty elite junior golfers will complete, with the teams split: 16 boys and four girls representing New England, and the same number playing for Team USA.
In addition to Khang, the New England squad consists of Ben Balter (Wayland), Chelso Barrett (Keene, N.H.), John Beadle (North Attleborough), Brian Butler (West Hartford, Conn.), Nick Fairweather (Windham, N.H.), Connor Greenleaf (Windham, N.H.), Danny Guise (Greenwich, Conn.), Chris Houston (Gilford, Conn.), Joe Leavitt (Atkinson, N.H.), Nick McLaughlin (New Castle, N.H.), Patrick O’Leary (Milton), Nicholas Pendelena (Atkinson, N.H.), Jake Shuman (Needham), Jason Steele (Georgetown), Seth Sweet (Madison, Maine), Zach Zaback (Farmington, Conn.), Jacquelyn Eleey (Quincy), Nicole Scola (Westerly, R.I.), and Isabel Southard (Sharon).
Representing Team USA will be Cameron Andrade (Atlanta), Calvin Beckwith (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.), Maxime Blandin (Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.), Ryan Celano (Naples, Fla.), Nick Celestino (Sarasota, Fla.), Caulen Coe (Gulfstream, Fla.), Evan DeRoche (Key West, Fla.), Forrest Gamble (Birmingham, Ala.), Eric Hallberg (Castle Rock, Colo.), Jake Marriott (Springfield, Ill.), Ryan Medhaug (Veblen, S.D.), Mark Reilly (Babylon, N.Y.), Bailey Truesdell (Grand Blanc, Mich.), Clancy Waugh (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.), Andrew Whalen (Ephrata, Wash.), Jack Williams (Garden City, N.Y.), Alison Eleey (Quincy), Alexa Hammer (Boynton Beach, Fla.), Brooke Henderson (Ontario, Canada), and Bryce Schroeder (Pueblo, Colo).
Team New England won last year’s competition - made up of 20 best-ball matches - 40.5-39.5.
One change this year is that there has been no changes to the golf course, a first since the tournament debuted in 2003. “As much as I enjoyed those projects, it’s been nice to just focus on maintenance this year instead of grow-ins,’’ said Tom Brodeur, TPC Boston’s superintendent . . . Phil Mickelson has the first pro-am time today, starting on No. 10 at 6:50 a.m. Luke Donald, Bubba Watson, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, and Nick Watney are also part of the morning wave, with Matt Kuchar, Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler, and Davis Love off in the afternoon. Keegan Bradley has the honor of playing at 7:30 a.m. with Seth Waugh, the Deutsche Bank Americas CEO. Waugh usually plays the pro-am with Tiger Woods, but Woods didn’t qualify.
Bradley gave himself a B-minus on his ceremonial first pitch before Tuesday’s Red Sox- Yankees game. “I’ve got Dustin Pedroia, who got down in a catcher’s stance. He’s kind of a small guy anyway, and it was a small target,’’ said Bradley, whose pitch would have been high and tight to a righthanded batter. “I was afraid that I was going to fall on my face or do something embarrassing, so I was happy with it.’’ . . . As part of the tournament’s food drive to benefit the Greater Boston Food Bank, Brad Faxon grabbed more groceries in a two-minute speed-shopping contest with Brett Quigley at the Mansfield Stop & Shop. Faxon put $4,905.82 worth of food in his cart in two minutes, with Quigley coming in at $2,692.77. In addition, members of the PGA Tour Wives Association will partner with Stop & Shop and State Street today to create 2,000 bags filled with healthy snacks for area children in need during for the third “Healthy Packs’’ initiative.
Michael Whitmer can be reached at email@example.com.