Monday, November 29, 2010

87 Final Stage Participants Gear Up For Grueling 108 Hole Finale

POY Michael Thompson

Eighty-Seven Final Stage Participants Know “You Can’t Practice Experience”
By: Paul Warner 
Myrtle Beach, S.C.—Monday, November 29, 2010—The final stage of PGA Tour Q-School starts this Wednesday December 1st in Winter Garden, Fla., at Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge, and continues thru Monday December 6th and there’s no shortage of NGA/Hooters Tour alumni in the field. 
Of the 164 players competing this week in the PGA Tour’s Final Stage of Q School, 87 (53%) are current or former NGA/Hooters Tourplayers. That’s over half the field that has competed in an NGA/Hooters Tour event in the past that are hoping to punch their ticket to the PGA Tour; once again proving former US Open Champion and one timeNGA/Hooters Tour Player Of The Year Lee Janzen’s exclamation. 
“You need experience that closely simulates the PGA Tour life, the Hooters Tour gives you that. The travel, playing 4 days, 36-hole cuts, walking, etc. You Can’t Practice Experience,” said Janzen of his time onThe NGA/Hooters Tour. 
They’ll be trying to put that experience to use over the grueling 6-day, 108-hole challenge that is the Final Stage of the PGA Tour’s Qualifying School. Those that are up to the challenge and place in the top 25 after the conclusion of the six rounds of stroke play will have their 2011 PGA Tour Cards awarded and will be present on golf’s biggest stage for next season. All participants outside of the top 25 will have some sort of status on the Nationwide Tour for the upcoming 2011 season, either fully or partially exempt. 
And, while many NGA alumni have PGA experience, there are plenty of current NGA/Hooters Tour stalwarts trying to make the leap straight to the PGA Tour. Four of the top 10 in the 2010 NGA/Hooters Tour point standings have made their way to final stage. 
Michael Thompson, the NGA/Hooters Tour Player of the Year and points leader, continued to show the form that netted him over $100,000 in winnings this season, finishing T11 at Southern Hills Plantation Club to advance to final stage. Thompson picked up one regular season win and won the Q-School Prep Series event at the Auburn University Club en route to POY Honors. 
NGA/Hooters Tour veteran Todd Bailey, of Spanish Fort, Ala., will also be in the final stage field. A veteran of more than 100 NGA/Hooters Tour events, Bailey finished third on the points list in 2010 by making an incredible 17 out of 18 cuts and came home T15 in the second stage to advance to final stage. 
Patrick Nagle, who won the ComSouth Classic, finished the season ninth in the point standings this season on the NGA/Hooters Tour. Nagle finished T18 in Panama City Beach, Fla., to qualify for the final stage. 
Jim Renner, a two-time NGA/Hooters Tour winner, looks to continue his most successful season in professional golf.Renner finished inside the top 10 on the money list this season and finished T9 in second stage to make it to the finals. 
NGA/Hooters Tour Advisory Board member Casey Crain finished T11 in Humble, Texas, to advance to the final stage.Crain, a four-year NGA veteran, made 13 of 16 cuts on the NGA/Hooters Tour season, but he may be playing his best golf of the year at the right time. 
NGA veterans Danny Wax, Scott Weatherly, Billy Hurley, Scott Brown, and Tommy Biershenk all advanced to the final stage by being medalists at their respective second stage sites.
Wax, a 2010 NGA/Hooters Tour member, shot a 17-under-par 271 and took home medalist honors at the Bayonet course at Bayonet and Black Horse; Weatherly, a 2010 NGA/Hooters Tour participant, finished at 13-under 275 to win co-medalist honors at Redstone Golf Club; Billy Hurley, a 2010 NGA/Hooters Tour member and winner, joined former member Scott Brown as co-medalist at the second stage event at Southern Hills Plantation Club; and six-timeNGA/Hooters Tour winner Tommy Biershenk, the 2006 Most Improved Player, finished at 18-under 270 to take medalist honors at TPC Craig Ranch.

Former NGA/Hooters Tour Player of the Year Elliot Gealy also advanced to final stage. Gealy finished T8 in McKinney, Texas. NGA member Joe Affrunti, who was voted the 2009 Most Improved Player, secured his PGA Tour card after finishing 22nd on the Nationwide Tour money list this season. But the former NGA winner is hoping to increase his status for the 2011 PGA Tour season and is entered in final stage. 
The NGA/Hooters Tour is the 3rd largest men’s 72-hole professional golf tour in the country behind the PGA and Nationwide Tours and boasts an impressive list of alumni. 
Stewart Cink, the 2009 British Open Champion; Lucas Glover, the 2009 US Open Champion; Zach Johnson, the 2007 Masters Champion; Shaun Micheel, the 2003 PGA Champion; Ben Curtis, winner of the 2003 British Open; Jim Furyk, winner of the 2003 US 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; and Craig Perks, winner of the TPC, tested their mettle on the NGA/Hooters Tour before tasting success on golf’s grandest stage. 
All told, the NGA/Hooters Tour’s alumni have an incredible 12 “Majors” to their credit. The NGA/Hooters Tour has helped hundreds of professionals acquire their PGA, Senior PGA, and Nationwide Tour cards. In fact, 48% of the players that earned their 2010 PGA Tour card, and 53% of the players that earned full exempt status on the Nationwide Tour started their careers on the NGA/Hooters Tour. 
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Past and Present Players at Final Stage:
Pablo Acuna
Joe Affrunti
Ryan Armour
Todd Bailey
Chris Baker
Andy Bare
Chris Baryla
Brian Bateman
Camilo Benedetti
Travis Bertoni
Tommy Biershenk
Craig Bowden
Jimmy Brandt
David Branshaw
Scott Brown
Ted Brown
Roberto Castro
Will Claxton
Erik Compton
Casey Crain
Matt Davidson
Brent Delahoussaye
Chris Epperson
Todd Fischer
Martin Flores
Stephen Gangluff
Dustin Garza
Elliot Gealy
Matthew Giles
Travis Hampshire
Jim Herman
Justin Hicks
Jason Hill
Billy Hurley
Lee Janzen
Shawn Jasper
Brandt Jobe
Kent Jones
J.J. Killeen
Jeff Klauk
Jason Kokrak
Grant Leaver
Tyler Leon
Michael Letzig
Edward Loar
Brock MacKenzie
Will MacKenzie
Ben Martin
Scott McCarron
William McGirt
George McNeill
Matt McQuillan
Garth Mulory
Patrick Nagle
James Nitties
Eric Onesi
Blake Parks
Scott Piercy
Aron Price
Clayton Rask
Jim Renner
John Riegger
David Robinson
Alexandre Rocha
Mike Ruiz
James Sacheck
Jason Schultz
Michael Sims
Nathan Smith
Scott Stallings
B.J. Staten
Darron Stiles
Will Strickler
Zach Sucher
Brett Swedberg
Michael Thompson
Chris Tidland
Blake Trimble
Ty Tryon
Martin Ureta
Dawie Van der Walt
Brian Vranesh
Danny Wax
Scott Weatherly
Ron Whittaker
Daniel Woltman
Gary Woodland

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