The field for next week’s (Dec. 12-17) Final Stage of the 2013Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament is all but set, with the Stadium and Nicklaus Courses at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif. in the process of making final preparations to host the tournament.
A field of more than 150 is anticipated. The field will be finalized on Sunday after the 2013 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season concludes in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As the path to the PGA TOUR, the initial goal of every player at the Qualifying Tournament is to earn a Web.com Tour card for next year, with the ultimate goal being to secure one of the 50 TOUR cards now available annually via the Web.com Tour.
In 2013, the PGA TOUR significantly changed its qualifying process. Through 2012, the PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament offered 25 PGA TOUR cards for the upcoming season, with an additional 25 being awarded to the 25 leading money winners on the Web.com Tour. All Qualifying Tournament finalists would earn TOUR status; the top 50 and ties on the PGA TOUR and all others on the Web.com Tour. That changed with the announcement last year that all 50 TOUR cards would come through the Web.com Tour beginning this year, and that the PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament would become the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament, with all of its Finalists earning a place on the Web.com Tour for the next year.
The path to this year’s Qualifying Tournament Final has included Pre-Qualifying, First and Second Stages, and now the Finals, with certain players able to forego various stages based on applicable exemptions.
Among those earning exemptions into the Finals are those players who finish(ed) 6-10 on the respective PGA TOUR Canada and NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Orders of Merit.
There has only been one previously played qualifying school that fed players directly to theWeb.com Tour. In early January, 1990, four weeks prior to the official launch of what was then the Ben Hogan Tour, 132 players competed at Grenelefe Resort in Haines City, Fla., with the low 35 and ties receiving their Tour cards. John Daly was the medalist in the four-round competition.
The following is a list of golfers of note who advanced to the Finals at the one of the six recent Second Stage qualifiers as featured in a recent PGATOUR.com story about the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament. Each players’ Second Stage qualifying site is featured in italics.
· Josh Anderson, a high-school teammate of Rickie Fowler’s at Murrieta Valley, finished seventh. Anderson was an All-American at Pepperdine in 2012 and won the 2007 California Amateur. Anderson finished 44th on PGA TOUR Canada’s Order of Merit this year. Bear Creek Golf Club, Murrieta, Calif.
· Connor Arendell advanced on the number at his qualifier. He earned his European Tour card by finishing eighth at last week’s European Tour Q-School in Spain. Plantation Preserve Golf Course & Club, Plantation, Fla.
· Mike Ballo, Jr., finished sixth after shooting four consecutive 69s. He played college golf at St. John’s, which has two alums on the PGA TOUR in 2013-14 (Keegan Bradley; Andrew Svoboda). His father was a professional golfer, competing in three U.S. Opens and three PGA Championships. Ballo Jr.’s mother, Page, played college golf at North Carolina.Southern Hills Plantation Club, Brooksville, Fla.
· Blayne Barber, 23, advanced to the Finals one year after disqualifying himself from Q-School First Stage last December. Barber played on the 2011 U.S. Walker Cup team that included Jordan Spieth, Harris English, Russell Henley, Peter Uihlein and Patrick Cantlay. Barber was the NGA Tour’s 2013 rookie of the year. He also made the cut in two of three PGA TOUR starts this year and had two top 10s in seven Web.com Tour starts. Southern Hills Plantation Club, Brooksville, Fla.
· Dan Berger, of Jupiter, Fla., finished second. Berger was a first-team All-American in 2013 at Florida State. He finished runner-up to Max Homa at the 2013 NCAA Championship before turning pro after his sophomore season. Plantation Preserve Golf Course & Club, Plantation, Fla.
· Josh Broadaway, who plays cross-handed, finished fifth at 11-under par. The 35-year-old recently Monday qualified for the McGladrey Classic and tied for 48th. He’s made the cut in both of his career PGA TOUR starts. Shell Landing Golf Club, Gautier, Miss.
· Three sons of former PGA TOUR winners – Olin Browne, Jr., Matt Weibring andJamison Sindelar – advanced to Final Stage. Olin Browne, Sr. won the 2011 U.S. Senior Open. Matt’s father, D.A., is a five-time TOUR winner. Jamison’s father, Joey Sindelar, won seven TOUR titles. TPC Craig Ranch, McKinney, Texas
· Zack Byrd, who played college golf with Dustin Johnson at Coastal Carolina, advanced on the number. Southern Hills Plantation Club, Brooksville, Fla.
· Albin Choi, a 2013 second-team All-American at North Carolina State, advanced without a shot to spare. Choi finished 52nd on PGA TOUR Canada’s Order of Merit this year. He was low amateur at the 2012 RBC Canadian Open. Deerwood Golf Club, Kingwood, Texas
· Jeff Curl advanced with one shot to spare after shooting 65-70 in the final two rounds. He is the son of Rod Curl, who won his lone PGA TOUR title at the 1974 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. Southern Hills Plantation Club, Brooksville, Fla.
· Jon Curran, who was high-school teammates with Keegan Bradley, finished third at 14-under par. He was the 2013 NGA Tour player of the year. The 26-year-old has made just four PGA TOUR and one Web.com Tour start. Plantation Preserve Golf Course & Club, Plantation, Fla.
· Johnny DelPrete advanced with one shot to spare. DelPrete gained attention this summer when he caddied for his girlfriend, LPGA player Jessica Korda, in the third round of the U.S. Women’s Open after she fired her caddie mid-round. DelPrete finished 104th on the PGA TOUR Canada Order of Merit in 2013. Plantation Preserve Golf Course & Club, Plantation, Fla.
· Matt Fast, of Canton, Miss., shot 20-under 268 to top his Second Stage field by three shots. Fast played college golf at Mississippi State. Shell Landing Golf Club, Gautier, Miss.
· Steven Fox, the 2012 U.S. Amateur champion, tied for fifth after shooting 74-66-64-72.TPC Craig Ranch, McKinney, Texas
· Max Gilbert went from having no status on PGA TOUR Canada to winning the TOUR Championship of Canada presented by Freedom 55 Financial, finishing in the top 20 on the Order of Merit and earning an exemption into the Second Stage. Southern Hills Plantation Club, Brooksville, Fla.
· Todd Hamilton, the 2004 Open Championship winner, advanced to Final Stage with one shot to spare. TPC Craig Ranch, McKinney, Texas
· Michael Hebert, who turned pro earlier this year after playing collegiate golf at Auburn and Florida State, finished third. He was college teammates at Auburn with Blayne Barber (see Barber entry above). Shell Landing Golf Club, Gautier, Miss.
· Max Homa, the 2013 NCAA individual champion, advanced on the number at his qualifier. The two members of the 2013 U.S. Walker Cup team who have since turned pro (Homa, Justin Thomas) both advanced to Final Stage. Homa finished ninth in his pro debut at theFrys.com Open, the first event of the 2013-14 PGA TOUR season; he finished 30th in the following week’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Deerwood Golf Club, McKinney, Texas
· Vince India, who is 35th on NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica’s Order of Merit, finished third. He was a third-team All-American at Iowa in 2011. Southern Hills Plantation Club, Brooksville, Fla.
· Sung Kang shot 10-under 278 to win by one shot. Kang won this year’s Korea Open by one shot over Rory McIlroy. Kang won the CJ Invitational hosted by K.J. Choi the previous week. Kang, 26, played the PGA TOUR in 2011 and 2012. Deerwood Golf Club, Kingwood, Texas
· Si Woo Kim, 18, advanced to Finals for the second consecutive year. He earned a PGA TOUR card at last year’s Q-School Finals as a 17-year-old. Bear Creek Golf Club, Murrieta, Calif.
· Mitch Krywulycz advanced on the number. He was teammates with PGA TOUR winner Patrick Reed on Augusta State’s 2010 and 2011 NCAA title teams. Another member of those teams, Henrik Norlander, played the PGA TOUR in 2013 and will have Web.com Tour status in 2014. Plantation Preserve Golf Course & Club, Plantation, Fla.
· Peter Lonard, winner of the 2005 RBC Heritage, finished 15th. The 46-year-old Aussie advanced with one shot to spare after shooting 70-68-75-74. Bear Creek Golf Club, Murrieta, Calif.
· Justin Lower, the 2010 NAIA champion out of Malone University in Ohio, was runner-up to Matt Fast in Mississippi. Shell Landing Golf Club, Gautier, Miss.
· Tyler McCumber, the son of 10-time PGA TOUR winner Mark McCumber, finished one shot back after shooting in the 60s all four rounds. McCumber turned pro earlier this year after an All-American career at the University of Florida. He won this year’s Florida State Open. Mark McCumber’s victories included the 1988 THE PLAYERS Championship and 1994 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Southern Hills Plantation Club, Brooksville, Fla.
· Adam Mitchell, a member of the United States’ 2009 Walker Cup team, finished sixth. His Walker Cup teammates included Rickie Fowler, Peter Uihlein, Morgan Hoffmann, Bud Cauley, Brian Harman and Cameron Tringale. Mitchell has never played in a PGA TOUR event and has made just 11 Web.com Tour starts since turning pro in 2009. Shell Landing Golf Club, Gautier, Miss.
· Matt Nagy, of Acworth, Ga., shot a final-round 66 to advance on the number. He shot a bogey-free 32 on his back nine. He played his final four holes in 3-under par, after a birdie at No. 6 and eagle at the par-5 seventh hole. Shell Landing Golf Club, Gautier, Miss.
· NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica – With just this week’s 108° VISA Open de Argentina presented by Peugeot remaining, 17 members have already earned Final Stage spots through their position in the Order of Merit or by advancing through the various stages of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament. At least three more players could make it to PGA West by finishing this week ranked No. 6-10 in the Order of Merit. Currently Julián Etulain (Argentina), Sebastián Saavedra (Argentina) and Bronson Burgoon (U.S.) are the ones in position to join the field and claim the last few spots available. Note: Oscar Serna and Ted Purdy are already exempt through other avenues.
· USC junior Anthony Paolucci was the only player to break par in all four rounds; he won by one shot. Paolucci was one of two collegians to advance out of Bear Creek, joining 2013 college player of the year Michael Kim of Cal, who advanced on the number after shooting 71-66-78-73. They must turn pro after Q-School Finals if they want to accept 2014Web.com Tour status. Kim also finished 17th at the U.S. Open and played in the Walker Cup. Bear Creek Golf Club, Murrieta, Calif.
· Kevin Penner, a UNLV All-American who turned pro earlier this year, advanced with one shot to spare after shooting 68-68-76-75. Penner made the cut (T-43) in his first PGA TOUR start as a pro at the recent Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Bear Creek Golf Club, Murrieta, Calif.
· PGA TOUR Canada – 32 members have earned the right to be at PGA West as a result of finishing 6-10 on this year’s Order of Merit or advancing through the various stages of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament.
· Matt Ryan, of Huntersville, N.C., shot 17-under 271 (64-67-71-69) to win by one shot. The 27-year-old played college golf at Fresno State. Southern Hills Plantation Club, Brooksville, Fla.
· James Sacheck, a 2009 Texas Christian University grad, tied for first at 18-under-par 270. TPC Craig Ranch, McKinney, Texas
· Nick Taylor, former No. 1 in the World Amateur Ranking and 2010 Ben Hogan Award winner at the University of Washington, finished seventh on the PGA TOUR Canada Order of Merit. PGA TOUR Canada
· Justin Thomas, who represented the United States at the 2013 Walker Cup, also shot 12-under 276. Thomas was college golf’s player of the year in 2012, beating out Jordan Spieth for the honor. Steven Fox and Thomas were teammates on the United States’ victorious team at the 2012 World Amateur Team Championship. TPC Craig Ranch, McKinney, Texas
· Nathan Tyler, of Tucson, Ariz., was medalist by two shots after shooting 21-under 263 (65-66-63-69). He finished 12th on the PGA TOUR Canada Order of Merit in 2013.Plantation Preserve Golf Course & Club, Plantation, Fla.
· Harold Varner, the 2012 Conference USA player of the year at East Carolina, finished eighth after shooting 72-68-69-68. Varner qualified for this year’s U.S. Open (76-79—MC).Southern Hills Plantation Club, Brooksville, Fla.
· Mexico’s Sebastian Vazquez finished sixth. Vazquez, 23, is 14th on the NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit. He was medalist at the 2012 World Amateur Team Championship. Deerwood Golf Club, Kingwood, Texas
· T.J. Vogel, the 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion, advanced to Q-School Finals after turning pro earlier this year. The man Vogel beat in the 2012 Publinks final, Kevin Aylwin, also advanced to Q-School finals out of Plantation on Friday. Vogel won their match, 12 and 10, at Soldier Hollow Golf Club in Midway, Utah. Plantation Preserve Golf Course & Club, Plantation, Fla.
· Riley Wheeldon, 2010 Big East Player of the Year at the University of Louisville, was runner-up on PGA TOUR Canada Order of Merit. While he already has conditional status for 2014, Wheeldon will be looking to enhance his position via Q-School. PGA TOUR Canada
· Tyler Weworski and James Sacheck tied for first at 18-under 270. He was medalist at the PGA TOUR Canada’s Fall Qualifying School. Weworski is the son of 2004 U.S. Women’s Mid-Am winner Corey Weworski. TPC Craig Ranch, McKinney, Texas
· Eugene Wong, college golf’s 2010 player of the year, finished seventh. Wong turned pro in 2012 after being a first-team All-American at Oregon and won twice on PGA TOUR Canada. He finished 23rd on the Order of Merit this year. Bear Creek Golf Club, Murrieta, Calif.