Final Round Update: EKU alumnus wins for the fourth time in 2011; Wilkes-Krier finishes 2nd-
Pass Christian, Miss. - August 21, 2011 - Brandon Brown’s first win of the season was a rain-shortened 36-hole victory in the Charter Childhood Cancer Awareness Classic in March. If there were any skeptics that believed the win was a fluke, the Eastern Kentucky alumnus silenced them with another victory in May and his third win of the season in July.
After his performance this week in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Golf Classic, it’s safe to say that the Shelbyville, Ky., golfer has no doubters.
Brown, who also won the Kentucky Open earlier this month, fired a 7-under 65 in the final round of the $200,000 NGA/Hooters Tour event at The Oaks Golf Club on Sunday to finish with a 25-under 263 total, six shots ahead of Patrick Wilkes-Krier.
“This is the best week I’ve had all year,” said Brown, who won $28,000. “My confidence level has been high since the first win of the season. But with the amount of competition out here, you don’t ever dream of winning four times in a season.”
Brown started the day one shot off the lead, but he wasted little time catching Wilkes-Krier. Brown birdied the first hole to pull even and took a two-shot lead after shooting a 3-under 33 on the front side to Wilkes-Krier’s 36.
Wilkes-Krier, of Orlando, Fla., closed the gap with a birdie on the 10th, but Brown birdied the 12th to push the lead back to two shots and added birdies on Nos. 15-17 en route to his fourth victory of the season.
“Patrick played well,” said Brown. “He missed the only place you couldn’t miss on No. 15 and I was able to birdie; that was enough for me to feel safe. My putter has been good the past few months, but I putted great this week. The greens were in great shape and I had good speed. I just tried to stay patient today and it worked out.”
With the win, Brown matched Andrew Morse (1996) for the second most wins in a season, passing Zach Johnson, who won three times in 2001, and trailing only Chad Campbell, who won eight times in 2000.
“Anytime you can have your name mentioned with guys like that, it’s a good thing,” said Brown, who reclaimed the money standings lead and put himself in good position to win Player of the Year.
However, Brown refuses to look that far ahead.
“I’m just focusing on the next tournament,” said Brown. “Guys like Jeff Corr and Philip Pettitt have two wins and there’s three events left, so you never know what can happen. Hopefully, I can win it, but I’m just looking ahead to my next event right now.”
While undoubtedly disappointed, Wilkes-Krier earned his largest payday on the NGA/Hooters Tour, pocketing $13,943 for his runner-up finish. The former Ball State standout, who has played in 97 NGA/Hooters Tour events, started the week with a tournament-low 61 and added rounds of 69, 67, 72 to finish with a 19-under 269 total.
David Miller, of Daphne, Ala., made a nice run up the leaderboard with a final-round 65. The former University of Georgia golfer jumped from T10 to finish in sole possession of third. Miller earned $8,943 for his podium finish and posted his third top-three finish in his last three events.
Lee Williams, of Alexander City, Ala., finished T4 to claim the “Race for the Mylan Classic Exemption,” which was awarded the leading points winner over the last five events. The Auburn alumnus has finished inside the top-8 in each of the past five tournaments, notching a pair of T8s, a T2, a T4 and T7 finish. Williams earned unrestricted exemption into the Nationwide Tour’s Mylan Classic, which starts on August 29.
Multi-time NGA/Hooters Tour winner Michael Welch, of North Quincy, Ala., fired a 6-under 66 in the final round to join Williams in a tie for fourth at 16-under par.
Alan Wagner, a Buenos Aires native, shot a 7-under 65 in the final round to join Randall Hutchison, of Traverse City, Mich., in a tie for sixth at 15-under par.
Michael Whitehead (Sugarland, Texas), Tyson Alexander (Gainesville, Fla.), Chad Ginn (Tylertown, Miss.) and Eric Atsma (Caledoni, Mich.) finished T8 at 14-under par, while Justin Smith (Franklin, Pa.) and Steve Pleis (Parrish, Fla.) finished in a tie for 12th at 13-under par.
For full-field results, click here.
The NGA/Hooters Tour will return to action on August 29 with the playing of the Kandy Waters Memorial Classic in North Augusta, S.C.
Third Round Update: Battle Brewing on the Gulf Coast-
Pass Christian, Miss. - August 20, 2011 - Patrick Wilkes-Krier of Orlando, Fla., shot a 5-under 67 in the third round of the NGA/Hooters Tour’s Mississippi Gulf Coast Golf Classic at The Oaks Golf Club to reclaim the lead in the $200,000 event.
The former Ball State standout fired a 61 on Thursday to take the first-round lead, but Brandon Brown shot a 62 in the second round to move atop the leaderboard. After playing his first two holes on Saturday 1 over, Wilkes-Krier ran off six birdies over his final 16 holes to finish the third round with a one-shot lead over Brown.
Wilkes-Krier, who has 96 starts, is 19-under par after three rounds and is one round away from his first NGA/Hooters Tour Professional Tour win.
A day after his 10-under, bogey-free round, Brown, of Shelbyville, Ky., ran into trouble early in the third round, carding a bogey and a double-bogey over his first eight holes. Brown, a three-time 2011 winner, offset the mistakes with three birdies over the same span and added three birdies more on the backside to pull into a tie for the lead at No. 15. However, a bogey at No. 16 left the Eastern Kentucky alumnus one shot back heading into the final round.
Steve Pleis, of Parrish, Fla., kept himself in contention by firing a 4-under 68 on the 7,006-yard layout in the third round. The former Southern Illinois golfer will begin the final round in third place at 16-under par.
Eric Atsma, of Caledonia, Mich., will start the final round five shots off the lead. The 2008 West Michigan Amateur champion carded a 2-under 70 on Saturday and is 14-under par for the tournament.
With another solid round, Lee Williams, of Alexander City, Ala., could claim the “Race for the Mylan Classic Exemption.” Williams is currently 13-under par and T5. The Auburn alumnus would receive 375 points if he can remain fifth, giving him enough points to surpass current exemption point leader Reid Edstrom, who is T54 after three rounds. Whomever comes out on top will receive an unrestricted exemption into the Nationwide Tour’s Mylan Classic.
Hudson Swafford, of Tallahassee, Fla., is also T5 after three rounds while, Chad Ginn (Tylertown, Miss.), Randall Hutchison (Traverse City, Mich.), and Major Forbess (Jacksonville, Fla.) are tied for seventh.
Tyson Alexander (Gainesville, Fla.), Parker LaBarge (San Antonio, Texas), David Miller (Daphne, Ala.) and Hank Kim (Jonesboro, Ga.) are T10 at 11-under par after three rounds.
For full-field results, click here.
The final round of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Golf Classic will begin at 7 a.m. on Sunday. As always, admission is free to the public.
Second Round Update: Brandon Brown Jumps Out Front-
Pass Christian, Miss. - August 19, 2011 - Brandon Brown fired a 62 in the second round of the NGA/Hooters Tour’s Mississippi Gulf Coast Golf Classic at The Oaks Golf Club to move out in front of first-round leader Patrick Wilkes-Krier by two shots on Friday.
Brown, of Shelbyville, Ky., started the day five shots off the lead, but the Eastern Kentucky alumnus wasted little time charging up the leaderboard. The three-time 2011 winner played his first six holes 5-under par and finished the day with a 10-under par total. After two rounds, Brown is 16-under par.
After opening with a bogey-free, 11-under 61, Wilkes-Krier, of Orlando, Fla., had three bogeys and six birdies en route to a 3-under 69 in the second round of the $200,000 event. The former Ball State golfer is 14-under par after heading into Moving Day.
Steve Pleis, of Parrish, Fla., fired a 4-under 68 on Friday to move into tie for third. Combined with is opening-round 64, Pleis, a former Southern Illinois golfer, is 12-under par after two rounds.
After starting the day solo second and two shots off the lead, Eric Atsma, of Caledonia, Mich., shot a 3-under 69 and is tied for third with Pleis going into the final two rounds.
Hudson Swafford, of Tallahassee, Fla., fired a 4-under 68 on the 7,006-yard layout in the second round to move from T6 to fifth. Swafford is 10-under par and six shots off the lead heading into the weekend.
Right behind the top five are a slew of NGA/Hooters Tour standouts. Past winners Lee Williams (Alexander City, Ala.), Michael Welch (North Quincy, Mass.) and Hank Kim (Jonesboro, Ga.) finished the second round tied for sixth at 9-under par.
John Kelly (St. Louis, Mo.), Daniel Burns (Mobile, Ala.), Brandon Frankhouser (Conroe, Texas), Major Forbess (Jacksonville, Fla.), Jeff Dennis (Jacksonville, Fla.) and leading money winner Jeff Corr (Longwood, Fla.) are T9 and 8-under par after two rounds.
For full-field results, click here.
The third round of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Golf Classic will begin at 7:30 a.m. As always, admission is free to public.
First Round Update: Eric Atsma two shots back-
Pass Christian, Miss. - August 18, 2011 - Patrick Wilkes-Krier of Orlando, Fla., torched The Oaks Golf Club on Thursday, shooting an 11-under 61 on the 7,006-yard layout to take a two-shot lead in the NGA/Hooters Tour’s Mississippi Gulf Coast Golf Classic.
The former Ball State standout started the day with a birdie on his first hole and didn’t slow down, making the turn with a 7-under 29 and adding four birdies on the inward side. After missing his first two cuts of the season, Wilkes-Krier has cashed in his last 11 events and has nine top-20 finishes.
Eric Atsma of Caledonia, Mich., made the turn with a somewhat pedestrian 33, but the 2008 West Michigan Amateur champion ran off six birdies in a row to start the backside and finished with a 9-under 63 to take sole possession of second place in the $200,000 event.
Steve Pleis of Parrish, Fla., shot an 8-under 64 in the first round and finished the day in third. Pleis, a former Southern Illinois golfer, had nine birdies and one bogey in the opening round.
Australian Aaron Black (Kingscliff) and Argentine Sebastian Saavedra (Buenos Aries) added some international flair to the leaderboard on Thursday, shooting 7-under 65s and finishing the first round tied for fourth.
Brandon Brown, a three-time winner in 2011, opened with a 6-under 66. Brown of Shelbyville, Ky., needed six holes to reach red figures, but the Eastern Kentucky alumnus toured the backside in 31 strokes to stay within earshot of the leaders.
Rookie Justin Yoder (Versailles, Mo.), Christopher Gold (Haddonfield, N.J.) and Hudson Swafford (Tallahassee, Fla.) also finished first round with 6-under 66s and tied for sixth.
Multi-time NGA/Hooters Tour winner Michael Welch (North Quincy, Mass.) finished in a tie for 10th, joining Mississippi golfers Trey Denton (Canton) and Chad Ginn (Tylertown) at 5-under par. Erik Barnes (Marion, Ind.) is also T10.
Erick Justesen (Pensacola, Fla.), Reid Edstrom (Auburn, Ala.), Ryan Britt (Louisville, Ky.), Chris Walling (Lake Charles, La.), Stephen Grant (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.), Lee Williams (Alexander City, Ala.), Parker LaBarge (San Antonio, Texas) and Michael Buttacavoli (Miami, Fla.) are 4-under par and T14.
For full-field results, click here.
The second round of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Golf Classic will begin at 7:30 a.m. As always, admission is free to public.
Player of the Year, Nationwide Tour Mylan Classic Exemption Up For Grabs; 30 Q-School reimbursement s on the line as well -
Myrtle Beach, S.C. - August 16, 2011 - The NGA/Hooters Tour will make its inaugural visit to The Oaks Golf Club in Pass Christian, Miss., this week for the playing of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Golf Club Classic.
The event will give Gulf Coast golf fans a chance to see some of the best up-and-coming golfers in the world playing on a former PGA Q-School and Nationwide Tour course. And if the past is any indication, fans will likely see a few future PGA “Major” winners.
“Growing up and even in college, you don’t get to be around too many guys that end up on the PGA Tour,” said Hudson Johnson, a rookie who won last week’s event. “Out here, you get to know these guys and watch them move onto the Nationwide Tour and it’s like, ‘Hey, I know that guy.’ You start to realize that you can get there, too. I mean Keegan Bradley won out here two years ago and he won the 2011 PGA Championship. The amount of talent out here is sick.”
If the $28,000 winner’s check and beating some of the best in the business weren’t enough incentive for the field, the NGA/Hooters Tour has dangled a few more carrots in front of the talented golfers.
Over the past four events, NGA/Hooters Tour members have been accumulating points towards the “Race for the Mylan Classic Exemption,” which will be awarded to the leading points winner at the conclusion of this week’s event. Currently, Reid Edstrom, of Auburn, Ala., holds a 205-point lead over Lee Williams in the Nationwide Tour exemption race. If he can hold on, Edstrom will receive an unrestricted exemption into the Nationwide Tour’s Mylan Classic, which starts on August 29.
In the past two seasons, the NGA/Hooters Tour has procured 11 Nationwide Tour exemptions, more than any developmental tour in the country, for its members.
Edstrom, a former Auburn Tiger, hasn’t finished outside the top 11 in his last four starts on the NGA/Hooters Tour and has three top-6 finishes coming into the final event of the “Race for the Mylan Classic Exemption.”
Williams, of Alexander City, Ala., has also been consistent during the past four events. The Auburn alumnus has finished inside the top-8 in each of the past four tournaments, notching a pair of T8s, a T2 and T7 finish.
While they will need some help from Edstrom, Patrick Wilkes-Krier (Orlando, Fla.) and Andrew Loupe (Baton Rouge, La.) are mathematically still in the running for the exemption. Wilkes-Krier, a Ball State alumnus, is 395 points behind Edstrom, while Loupe, a former LSU standout, is 477 back. Players can earn 500 points per event.
With the season winding down, several players will have their eyes on winning the Player of the Year title, which will be awarded to the NGA/Hooters Tour member who achieves the greatest success in 2011. And that will prove to be a tough decision, considering that three golfers already have multiple wins and surpassed $100,000 in winnings.
Jeff Corr, of Longwood, Fla., leads the tour with $120,880 in earnings. The former Jacksonville (Ala.) State golfer has nine top-10 finishes, including two wins.
Brandon Brown, of Shelbyville, Ky., is second on the money list with over $115,000 in earnings. The Eastern Kentucky alumnus leads the tour with three wins and has posted three other top-10 finishes in 2011.
Philip Pettitt Jr., of Murfreesboro, Tenn., also broke the $100,000 threshold with his T8 finish last week. The former University of Tennessee golfer has two wins and is in the thick of the battle for POY honors.
While he’s yet to surpass $100,000 in winnings, Nick Rousey (Pensacola, Fla.) could eclipse the mark this week with a superb outing. Coming into the Gulf Coast Golf Classic, the former Crimson Tide golfer has a win, eight top-10 finishes and is fourth on the money list.
Although he hasn’t broken into the win column, Williams’ hat is in the POY race as well. In 16 starts, Williams has cashed 16 times and picked up 11 top-10 finishes. In doing so, the former Auburn Tiger has accumulated nearly $80,000 in winnings. Like Rousey, Williams could surpass $100,000 in winnings with a victory this week.
Last week, Johnson, of Longview, Texas, picked up his first NGA/Hooters Tour win in the TimberCreek Golf Classic in Daphne, Ala., by four shots over Michael Lavery (Mission Viejo, Calif.) and David Miller (Daphne, Ala.). Both Miller and Johnson will be in the field this week.
NGA/Hooters Tour members will also be jockeying to finish inside the top 30 in points at season’s end. The top 30 players will have their PGA Q-School fees reimbursed by the NGA/Hooters Tour. If 30 players qualify for the reimbursement, the NGA/Hooters Tour will have paid Q-School fees for more than 50 golfers in the last two seasons, more than any other developmental tour in the industry.
Other notables include in the field include: 2011 NGA/Hooters Tour winners David Skinns (Lincoln, England), Jesse Hutchins (Kirkersville, Ohio), James Vargas (Miami, Fla.) and Erik Barnes (Marion, Ind.); former PGA Tour winner David Gossett (Austin, Texas); Michael O’Neal (Jacksonville, Fla.), an NGA veteran who has made four out of five cuts on the PGA and Nationwide Tour in the last two seasons; Justin Yoder, a former All-American and All-Nicklaus team member from Versailles, Mo.; former Mississippi State golfers Matt Fast (Hattiesburg, Miss.) and Gregory Huxman (Pinecrest, Fla.); and Ole Miss golfers Kyle Ellis (Senatobia, Miss.) and Jesse Speirs (Oxford, Miss.).
The first round of the Gulf Coast Golf Classic will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday. As always, admission is free to the public.
For more information, visit: www.HootersTour.com.
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 Thirteen (13) “Major” Championships.
Alumni include: 2011 PGA Championship winner and 2009 NGA/Hooters Tour member Keegan Bradley, 2011 PGA winners Scott Piercy, Scott Stallings, Sean O'Hair, Mark Wilson, Bubba Watson and Gary Woodland; 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.
For more information on the NGA/Hooters Pro Golf Tour, contact the Tour Office at (800) 992-8748.