Former Baylor School and University of Tennessee at Chattanooga golfer Stephan Jaeger has qualified for the FedExCup playoffs for a second straight year, but this is a far greater accomplishment.
The FedExCup playoffs once consisted of four tournaments and 125 players until the PGA condensed it to three events beginning in 2019. This year, the player field was trimmed to 70 for the three-leg competition that begins Thursday at the FedEx St. Jude Championship in Memphis.
Jaeger’s tie for 14th at this past weekend’s Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, resulted in the 34-year-old placing 61st in the final standings of the regular season. The first two golfers to miss out on the top 70 were two-time PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas and 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott.
“This means a lot,” the German-born Jaeger said Monday. “It’s the highest I’ve ever finished in the FedExCup, which means it just validates everything I’ve been working on.”
Jaeger is one of three Baylor School graduates to qualify for the FedExCup playoffs, joining Harris English, who is 42nd in the points, and Keith Mitchell, who is 58th. The same trio spearheaded King Oehmig’s Red Raiders to the TSSAA Division II state championship in Murfreesboro in October 2006, when English was a senior, Jaeger a junior and Mitchell a freshman.
This is the fourth consecutive year in which three former Baylor players have qualified for the FedExCup playoffs, but it’s the first occasion in which three have made the final 70. This feat comes on the heels of the 2023 Masters being the first containing two Baylor alums — English and Mitchell.
Mitchell, Jaeger and Luke List qualified for the playoffs last year, when English missed multiple months of the season after undergoing hip surgery coming off his stellar 2021 surge that contained two PGA Tour wins and a spot on the Ryder Cup team. List battled the injury bug this year, with a foot issue knocking him out of the Rocket Mortgage Classic and the John Deere Classic, and a thumb issue causing him to miss the Barracuda Championship, the 3M Open and the Wyndham.
This is the sixth straight year in which Mitchell is playoff-bound.
Jaeger’s rise from 94th in the points last season is largely due to consistently making cuts, with his 89.3% success rate ranking eighth on tour behind the recognized likes of Scottie Scheffler, Viktor Hovland, Xander Schauffele, Brooks Koepka (who plays on the LIV Tour but made the cut in all four majors), Tyrrell Hatton, Jon Rahm and Rickie Fowler. Jaeger made 25 of 28 cuts, with his 25 tying Justin Suh for the most of any player.
“I just think every part of my game has gotten better,” Jaeger said of his ability to reach the weekend, “so even if one part is off one week, I can get by with the others. My putter still has to get better, but we are working on that.”
The top 50 in the FedExCup standings after the St. Jude Classic will play in next week’s BMW Championship in the Chicago suburb of Olympia Fields.
Contact David Paschall at [email protected].