Admittedly it’s purely Michigan, but how are the state’s players faring on the PGA Tour and Web.com Tour and what’s their likely playing status for 2013?
On the game’s biggest stage, Pontiac’s Tom Gillis is guaranteed full privileges next year thanks to being 88th on the money list at $1.1 million in earnings. The former Oakland Community College golfer has a solo second and two top ten finishes so far in 2012. This week, Gillis is competing in Malaysia at the CIMB Classic at The Mines Resort. Indicative of Asia’s growing prominence, the CIMB next year will be an official event on the PGA Tour and will count toward FedEx points.
On the Web.com tour, three Michigan players have done very well this year. Wyandotte’s Justin Hicks (#11) and Jackson’s Brian Stuard (#16) sit comfortably within the Top 25 money list (the cut off point for earning a lucrative 2013 PGA Tour card) as the regular season ends on Sunday at the Web.com Tour Championship in McKinney, Texas. On the bubble at #26, is Mount Pleasant native Doug LaBelle II who claimed his first win and $99,000 back in July in Utah. So, tune in on Sunday for the final round at 3 pm EST on the Golf Channel. Those who finish the season between 26 and 60 on the final money list are fully exempt on the Web.com Tour in 2013.
Matt Harmon, Grand Rapids, narrowly missed qualifying for the season-ending and Top 60-only field in Texas. Harmon ended the season last week in 64th place with $88,533 in earnings. Last Sunday, Harmon birdied his first three holes and was four under after seven at the difficult and wind-swept Pete Dye-designed venue. Sadly, he stumbled badly coming home, ending up at two-over par for the day and finishing in T-15 place, not enough to vault his earnings into the coveted Top 60. Yet observers said Harmon advanced his game this year and earned valuable experience by competing on a regular basis (16 events) on the Web.com tour. He’s exempted into the second stage of Q School next month and already achieved conditional status next year on the Web.com tour.
A rookie on the Web.com Tour, Jeff Cuzzort of Grosse Ile struggled this year, earning only $14,720, 163rd on the money list. He played in 17 events and made the cut six times. He’ll be returning to Q School.
Beginning in 2013, the Web.com Tour will become the gateway to the PGA Tour with all 50 cards coming through the Tour for the 2013-2014 season at the four-event Web.com Tour Finals in September, 2013.
Speaking of the gut-wrenching Q School, Michigan players advancing out of the first stage of qualifying so far are: Ryan Brehm, Randy Hutchinson and Willie Mack III. Reigning Michigan Open champion Barrett Kelpin did not advance. This Friday another first stage ends in which Michigan’s Clark Klassen and Ryan Lenahan are competing.
Thanks to the GAM’s Ken Hartmann for citing other Michigan players such as Brendan Gielow, Adam Hogue, Dan Olsen, Eric Atsma, Andrew Ruthkowski, Joe Juscycyk, and Patrick Wilkes Krier as all still vying at various Q School venues. Hartmann also reported “Lloyd Fisher from Grand Rapids and Jerry Gunthorpe from Owosso have both advanced out of the first stage of the Champions Tour q-school.” It takes a village to keep track of homegrown Q School competitors. Check out www.pgatour.com/qschool/
If I inadvertently missed any qualifiers shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Image courtesy of the PGA Tour