Sunday Updates: NGA/Hooters Tour Members pull off Unprecedented THREE-PEAT
Stadion Classic: For the third consecutive event, an NGA/Hooters Tour member has made the leap to the Nationwide Tour after Monday Qualifying to get into the event.
Will Wilcox, a two-time NGA/Hooters Tour winner and current member, finished T3 in the Stadion Classic at UGA to earn the promotion. Wilcox, of Pell City, Ala., fired a 4-under 67 on Sunday to move from T7 to T3. Like members Ted Potter Jr. and Russell Knox, Wilcox was able to get through the Monday qualifier to pick up his playing privileges on the Nationwide Tour.
Current player Matt Hendrix also finished T3 and earned a promotion as well. Hendrix, who has three Pro Series starts and four Winter Series starts in 2011, shot a final round 70 to finish in a tie with Wilcox. The 3rd place tie for Hendrix is his career best on the Nationwide Tour. Hendrix finished T3 at Tallahassee earlier this season on the NGA/Hooters Tour Pro Series and had two wins in the Winter Series en route to pocketing over $20,000 this season on the NGA/Hooters Tour. While Hendrix Monday qualified into Valdosta, it took him the extra week to earn exempt status. Hendrix finished top 25 in Valdosta which got him exempt into Athens.
With amateur Russell Henley winning the Stadion Classic, first-place money went to scond place finisher Troy Kelly. That left second- and third-place money to be split between Wilcox and Hendrix. Each player took home $48,400, earning both players exempt status on the Nationwide Tour for the remainder of the 2011 season. Current NGA/Hooters Tour member Brent Long, who finished tied for third in Valdosta, failed to make the cut in Athens but remains only $12,000 in earnings away from gaining his Nationwide Tour card. While Long will have to attempt to Monday Qualify for now, he is likely to receive a spot in the Nationwide Tour's Columbus, Ohio, event, one of that tour's largest purses and where the field is based strictly off the Nationwide Tour's money list. The opportunity for Brent to make the jump there would be great, if he has not done so already.
Another current member who was looking to make the jump was Michael O'Neal. Michael got into the Stadion Classic in the same manner as Hendrix, Monday qualifying into Athens and finishing inside the top 25 there. Michael was unable to repeat the effort in Athens, finishing at 2-under par, leaving him tied for 31st. Michael was one shot away from finishing tied for 25th which would have gotten him exempt into the Nationwide Tour's BMW event. While Michael had to be disappointed, he does walk away with $3,478.75 in earnings from the event. That, combined with his Valdosta earnings, brings him to $8,401 earned on the Nationwide Tour this year and a step closer to earning his Nationwide Tour card for the 2011 season.
Former winner Bubba Dickerson shot a final-round 68 to move into a tie for fifth. Alums Jeff Gove and John Mallinger finished T9, while former players Mark Anderson, Darron Stiles and Andrew Svoboda finished T12.
2010 members Roberto Castro and Rob Oppenheim finished T15. Current member Russell Knox finished T18.
The feat, a THREE-PEAT of sorts, accomplished by 2011 NGA/Hooters Tour members Russell Knox, Ted Potter, and Will Wilcox is unprecedented. Never before has a developmental tour had three members make the jump to the Nationwide Tour in three "consecutive" weeks, much less by all three having to Monday qualify to get into the events. The three-week run is an amazing accomplishment and an even further testament to the model that the NGA/Hooters Tour runs on a week in and week out basis. The NGA/Hooters Tour mirrors the Nationwide and PGA Tours with 72-hole, walking-only events held on one championship-caliber golf course. The players learn to travel and manage their time just like they have to do on the Nationwide and PGA Tours. Distance measuring devices are also not allowed on the NGA/Hooters Tour, just like on the Nationwide and PGA Tours. Players must learn to trust their own judgements.
The NGA/Hooters Tour follows the Nationwide and PGA Tours, even down to the dress code, where players are required to wear long pants during competition and even practice rounds. Monday qualifiers, pro-ams, pairings parties, and junior clinics are just some of the same activities you will see during an NGA/Hooters Tour event that you find at Nationwide or PGA Tour events. And with events like Tallahassee, Ocala, and McCormick (just to name a few) the players will tell you that the crowds at many NGA/Hooters Tour events mirror those found on the Nationwide Tour. Being able to play in front of a gallery is another important part of a player's development and another thing that sets the NGA/Hooters Tour apart from other more regionalized mini-tours. With so many alumni finding success on the Nationwide and PGA Tours it's no surprise that the NGA/Hooters Tour continues to be the No. 1 Most Recommended Developmental Tour by PGA and Nationwide Tour Professionals.
Wells Fargo Championship: Former NGA/Hooters Tour player Lucas Glover outlasted Jonathan Byrd in a playoff to win the PGA Tour event in Charlotte, N.C., on Sunday.
Glover, who played on the NGA/Hooters Tour in 2002, used a 3-under 69 in the final round to catch Byrd and picked up the victory on the first extra hole.
Former player Kevin Na continued his strong play with a fifth-place showing in the Wells Fargo Championship.
Former NGA/Hooters Tour Player of the Year Zach Johnson shot a 4-under 68 to moved from T16 to T6. Alums Robert Garrigus and Stewart Cink finished T9.
Michael Thompson, the 2010 Player of the Year, finished T64.
The win by Glover was the seventh win on the PGA Tour by former NGA/Hooters Tour players this season.
Saturday Updates: Former POYs in contention in PGA, Nationwide events-
Stadion Classic: Five-time NGA/Hooters Tour winner Elliot Gealy fired a 3-under par 68 to get to 6-under par in the Stadion Classic at UGA on Saturday. Gealy moved from T11 to T4 and is three shots back going into the final round.
Current player Mattt Hendrix, who finished T3 earlier this season, also carded a 68 on Saturday. Hendrix, a Clemson alumnus, is solo third and one shot off the lead.
Current member Will Wilcox nearly recorded the round of the day with a 5-under 66. Wilcox, a two-time NGA/Hooters Tour winner, moved from T25 to T7 with his stellar third round. Wilcox will start the final round four shots off the lead. Alums Andrew Svoboda, James Nitties and Bubba Dickerson are also T7.
Two-time NGA/Hooters Tour Player of the Year Ted Potter Jr. shot a 4-under 67 to move back into contention. Potter, who won last week’s Nationwide Tour event, will star the final round 6 back and T23.
Wells Fargo Championship: Former NGA/Hooters Tour winner Stewart Cink shot a 4-under 68 in the third round of the PGA Tour event in Charlotte, N.C. Cink will start the final round three shots behind Jonathan Byrd.
Former player Lucas Glover is also T3 and 12-under par after three round.
Former POY Zach Johnson is tied for 16th with alums Robert Garrigus and David Toms.
Michael Thompson, the 2010 NGA/Hooters Tour Player of the Year, shot a 2-under 70 on Saturday and is T31 going into the final round.
Second Round Updates: Members Knox, Wilcox, O'Neal in contention-
Stadion Classic: Former NGA/Hooters Tour winner Bubba Dickerson shot an even-par 71 in the second round of the Nationwide Tour event at UGA, but that was good enough to hang on to the lead.
Dickerson is 6-under par and one shot ahead of NGA/Hooters Tour alumni Joel Edwards and Matt Hendrix.
Hendrix, who finished T3 at the Killearn Country Club Classic, moved from T12 to T2 with a second-round 67 on Friday. Edwards, who played on the NGA/Hooters Tour in 2006, also fired a 4-under 67 to get to T2.
Alum Patrick Sheehan fired a 6-under 65 to jump 69 spots on Friday. Sheehan is T4 with former player Marco Dawson at 4 under for the tournament.
Current member Russell Knox leaped from T73 to T19 with a 4-under 67 on Friday. Knox, a two-time NGA/Hooters Tour winner, is playing his second event since gaining exempt status on the Nationwide Tour.
Current members Will Wilcox and Michael O’Neal will also be around for the weekend after shooting matching 68s in the second round to finish at T25 and 1-under par for the tournament.
Two-time NGA/Hooters Tour Player of the Year Ted Potter Jr. rebounded from a 3-over 74 with a 1-under 70 on Friday to make the cut on the number. Despite his slow start, Potter is only eight shot backs with 36 holes to play.
Wells Fargo Championship: Former NGA/Hooters Tour player Lucas Glover fired a 4-under 68 in the second round of the PGA event in Charlotte, N.C., and is T4 after two rounds.
Former NGA/Hooters Tour winner Stewart Cink vaulted up the leader board with a 7-under 65 in the second round. Cink moved from T38 to T6 with his stellar round.
Former winner David Toms is T12 after an even-par 72 in the second round. Former players and Kevin Na, Jason Bohn and John Senden are also T12.
Two-time 2011 winner and NGA/Hooters Tour alum Bubba Watson is T29 and 4-under par after two rounds.
First Round Updates: Kizzire leads all members at Stadion-
Wells Fargo Championship: Former NGA/Hooters Tour member David Toms opened with a 6-under 66 on Thursday and completed the round T2, two shots behind Bill Haas.
Toms, a 1989-90 NGA/Hooters Tour member and former winner, shot matching 33s at Quail Hollow and is good position to pick up his 13th PGA Tour victory.
Former player Lucas Glover shot a 5-under 67 on during Thursday’s first round to get to T4. Glover’s round was a bit of a roller-coaster ride. The former Clemson golfer had eight birdies and three bogeys.
Jim Herman, who played on the NGA/Hooters Tour in 2001, was 1-over par through four holes before playing the final 14 in 5 under to finish the day with a 4-under 68. Herman is T6.
NGA/Hooters Tour veteran Josh Teater is off to another great start this week. Teater, who has over 75 NGA/Hooters Tour starts, carded a 3-under 69 and ended the first round T11. Former NGA/Hooters Tour winner Brandt Jobe is also T11 after Thursday’s round.
Stadion Classic: NGA/Hooters Tour winner Bubba Dickerson jumped out to an early lead in the Nationwide Tour event at UGA. On a day when only 22 players broke par, Dickerson shot a 6-under 65 to take a one-shot lead over Miguel Angel Carballo.
Marco Dawson, who played on the NGA/Hooters Tour in 1995 and 1996, was two shots back after carding a 4-under 67 in the first round. Dawson was solo third after Thursday’s round.
Travis Bertoni, a 2010 NGA/Hooters Tour member and winner, is off to his best start of the season. Bertoni shot a 3-under 68 in the first round and finished T4. Bertoni is coming off back-to-back top-20 finishes on the Nationwide Tour. Former player John Mallinger also finished at T4 and 3 under.
One week after finishing T2 on the NGA/Hooters Tour, member Patton Kizzire turned in an even-par 71 on Thursday and finished T24. Kizzire had the best round of the 14 members in the event.
Over 150 Alums in PGA, Nationwide Action-
Myrtle Beach, S.C. - May 4, 2011 - In the span of two Nationwide Tour events, the NGA/Hooters Tour has seen two members earn their playing privileges on the No. 2 tour. And with eight members Monday qualifying for this week’s event in Athens, Ga., don’t be surprised to see another member make the move.
Mark Blakefield, Anthony Broussard, Will Wilcox, Devon Spies, Patton Kizzire, Jordan Blann and Steve LeBrun all advanced out of the qualifier to earn spots in the Nationwide Tour’s Stadion Classic at UGA. Although they would’ve preferred to have secured spots in the field, being a Monday qualifier and a NGA/Hooters Tour member seems to be the perfect combination of late.
Current NGA/Hooters Tour member Russell Knox went from a Monday qualifier to an exempt member of the Nationwide Tour with a second-place finish last month, while two-time 2011 winner Ted Potter Jr. was able to Monday in and win the South Georgia Classic last week.
Though all of the Monday qualifiers have enough talent to follow in the footsteps of their fellow members, current member Brent Long may have the best chance to pick up his playing privileges this week.
After getting in the South Georgia Classic through the Monday qualifier, Long finished T3 in Valdosta, Ga. Long earned $36,250 last week and will earn Nationwide Tour status this week with a solid showing.
“I think the number is around $12,000 for me to get my card,” said Long, of Carthage, Tenn. “This week’s course is long, and I have an advantage with my length.”
And having plenty of familiar faces around for the second week in a row won’t hurt, either.
“I got to play with Ted the first two days last week, and that helped both of us,” said Long. “I hung out with Russell Knox, Michael O’Neal and Matt Boyd all week. It felt like we were on the Hooters Tour. I think that’s why we all played so well.”
But as much as the camaraderie, Long believes the recent exploits of Knox and Potter bolstered his game last week.
“I got a lot of confidence from seeing those guys do so well,” said Long. “I mean, the Hooters Tour is freaking tough. My best finish on the Hooters Tour is a T8, and I finished T3 on the Nationwide Tour last week.”
To become an exempt member on the Nationwide Tour, Long will need to finish inside the top 10 this week. But don’t expect the long-hitting Tennessean to throttle back, mainly because his caddy, Cedric Lamar, won’t let him.
“I started last week thinking about finishing in the top 25, but Cedric kept saying, ‘Brent, we’re going to win,’” said Long. “He said if I won, it would take care of the rest. After that, I wasn’t even nervous. He’s a seasoned caddy and I couldn’t have done it without him. He’s helped a lot of Hooters Tour guys get to the Nationwide Tour.”
And Long may just be the next.
Boyd and O’Neal finished T24 last week to qualify for the Stadion Classic. All told, 14 NGA/Hooters Tour members and 80 alumni will be in the field.
The PGA Tour will also feature plenty of NGA/Hooters Tour alums as over 60 current and former players take part in the Well Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C.
Fresh off his second PGA Tour win of the season, Bubba Watson, a 2004 NGA/Hooters Tour winner, is ranked second in the PGATour.com’s Power Rankings this week. Watson finished T2 at Quail Hollow in 2009 and T22 last year.
Former NGA/Hooters Tour member Jim Furyk is also ranked this week. Furyk, who won at Quail Hollow in 2006, has finished T11 or better in his last three starts in Charlotte. The 2010 PGA Tour Player of the Year has also strung together four top-25s in his last four events.
Tommy Gainey, a former NGA/Hooters Tour winner, leapt into the Power Rankings this week after his second consecutive third-place finish. Gainey has played his last seven rounds under par coming into the Wells Fargo Championship.
Current member Sam Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer, is also in the field. Saunders will be making his sixth PGA Tour start of the season.
NGA/Hooters Tour alums have combined to win six times on the PGA Tour this season and have three victories in the Wells Fargo Championship.
The NGA/Hooters Tour is the No. 1 recommended developmental tour by more PGA and Nationwide Tour Professionals than any other tour in the country.
The NGA/Hooters Tour is the Third Largest Men’s 72 Hole Professional Golf Tour in the United States behind the Nationwide and PGA Tours and has helped hundreds of professionals acquire their PGA, Nationwide, and Champions Tour cards. In fact, NGA/Hooters Tour Alumni have won an incredible Twelve (12) “Major” Championships.
Alumni include Jim Furyk, the 2010 FedExCup winner and PGA Tour Player of the Year; Stewart Cink, the 2009 British Open Champion; Lucas Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open Champion; Zach Johnson, the 2007 Masters Champion; Shaun Micheel, the 2003 PGA Champion; Ben Curtis, winner of the 2003 British Open; Lee Janzen, a two-time US Open winner; John Daly, a British Open and PGA Champion; Tom Lehman, winner of the British Open; David Toms, a past PGA Champion; Chad Campbell, the 2003 Tour Championship winner; Vaughn Taylor, a two-time Reno Tahoe Open winner; Craig Perks, winner of the TPC, and many, many more. At this year’s PGA Tour Qualifying School, 46% of the players that earned full exempt status on the PGA Tour (including 2010 Hooters Tour Player of the Year Michael Thompson) and 52% of the players that earned status on the Nationwide Tour have spent time on the NGA/Hooters Professional Golf Tour. In 2011, 23 former NGA/Hooters Tour players will be advancing to the PGA Tour.
NGA/Hooters Alumni in Wells Fargo:
Brendon de Jonge
NGA/Hooters Tour Alumni in Stadion Classic:
Mark Blakefield (Current Member)
Jordan Blann (Current Member)
Matt Boyd (Current Member)
Anthony Broussard (Current Member)
Billy Hurley III (Current Member)
Patton Kizzire (Current Member)
Russell Knox (Current Member)
Steve Lebrun (Current Member)
Brent Long (Current Member)
Michael O’Neal (Current Member)
Ted Potter Jr. (Current Member)
Devin Spies (Current Member)
Shawn Stefani (Current Member)
Will Wilcox (Current Member)