the final 9 is more of a showcase, often set out so that many of the other competitors can spectate without drawing too much from the other divisions.
the final 9 is generally a victory lap, as most of the time things have been dictated by the semis.
usually, there are 8 rounds of 18 + a final 9, but i believe this year it was 7 + a final. have to remember that this is very exhausting.
as for mccray missing the start, that sucks. crazy john brooks did that once and he was LEADING entering the semi's (round
... overslept and missed like 9 holes.