The Good, the Bad and the Ugly from this week’s Qualifiers
Welcome to my new weekly column rounding up the action at Monday qualifiers across the golf world. The journey continues…
Korn Ferry Tour Monday Qualifier
Nick Hardy didn’t even play in the tournament Monday—he is on the verge of his PGA Tour card but he still had a role in the qualifier. His friend Patrick Flavin had played in an All-Pro Tour event in Oklahoma last week and he had no real intention of playing the KFT Monday qualifier. Enter Hardy, who called Flavin and talked him into signing up. It doesn’t end there; Hardy then left his home in Scottsdale a day early and drove hours out his way to pick up Flavin in Oklahoma and bring him to Kansas City. That is a good friend…but it doesn’t end there. Sunday, in the pouring rain, Hardy walked the course with Flavin and helped him strategize for the qualifier. Monday morning, he woke up early and drove Flavin to the course. And finally, after Flavin shot 66 that would tie him for medalist, Hardy sat with him in the clubhouse and helped him stay focused for a potential playoff. Nick Hardy is on the verge of his Tour card and did all that for a friend. That’s as good as it gets… Speaking of Flavin, he didn’t birdie a single par-5. In the three years I’ve been tracking Monday qualifiers it’s the first time a medalist hasn’t birdied at least one of the par-5s… Kyler Dunkle qualified for his first-ever Korn Ferry event tying Flavin for medalist with a 66, including birdies on four of the last six holes. He finished early, and the wait is always excruciating as scores slowly trickle in. Dunkle said went to eat lunch with friends, talked on the phone as much as possible, and tracked his alma mater Utah playing in the Regionals…anything to keep his mind occupied. Dunkle told me after the round, “Every time you look at scores, you just pray there isn’t anyone that beat you.” … Daniel Sutton got through for the first time in 2021. Last year he Monday qualified for his first KFT event and went on to finished fourth. He parlayed that into six total starts, making four cuts. Can he recapture the Monday magic again in his first start this year? … Zach Bauchou, who lost in a playoff at the Byron Nelson Monday qualifier, shot 67 and got through but it was a wild ride: five birdies, two eagles, four bogeys and seven pars equals out to a five-under round. There are a lot of shapes on that card.
Talk about producing under pressure, Jeremy Gandon came to the last hole at three under. He told me afterward that he figured it would take 5-under as to get into a playoff. So what he does on the closing par-5? He hit his drive right down the middle, hit a 6-iron to seven feet, and made the putt for eagle … Sam Stevens has been one of the best developmental players over the last year (more details below) but he finally broke through at a Monday. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy could be a real threat this week.
Logan McCracken played very well at the Byron Nelson Monday qualifier, shooting 67 to get into a playoff, though he bowed out on the second extra hole. This week he shot another 67 but missed a playoff by one. He’ll be thinking about his bogey on the 16th hole for a while.. Mondays can be cruel… Christian DiMarco and Taylor Funk, both sons of PGA Tour winners, played well but both missed. Side note: DiMarco plays left-handed but putts right-handed… Playoffs for the final spots are what I live for on Mondays. The drama of an all-or-nothing playoff makes for great (and heartbreaking) stories, and for the second time in the last three weeks, there wasn’t one.
Brax McCarthy made par or better on 17 holes in the KFT Monday qualifier, including seven birdies. His other hole was a triple bogey, and he ended up missing a playoff by one. Just a brutal way to miss… The weather was horrid; it rained most of the afternoon. Players like to say that the draws equal out across a full year, but the afternoon wave definitely played in the worst weather… As the popularity of Mondays has grown, a few more fans have started to make their way out to watch live. A Twitter follower sent me a message that he was headed out to his first Monday but his car broke down on the way. Damn.
Some quick notes from things that have happened on the mini-tour grind over the last few weeks:
Sam Stevens won on the All-Pro Tour for the fourth time in the last 12 months. Last year he went over $100,000 in earnings on that tour alone, almost unheard of on mini-tours. He is already nearing $40K in earnings this year… Pauline del Rosario won in her second start on the Women’s All-Pro Tour and earned an exemption into an upcoming Symetra Tour event. Del Rosario has eight wins on the women’s Philippines Tour and a win on the LPGA of Taiwan Tour… Martin Flores, who has made 199 starts and over five million in career earnings on the PGA Tour, is trying to find his game again on the mini-tours. He finished third at last week’s All-Pro Tour event… Aaron Wilson, a pro who plays on the Minor League Tour in Florida and valets to help pay the bills, had an eventful week. While on his valet shift, a customer got out of his car but had left it in drive. Wilson quickly jumped in and saved the car from crashing into other parked nearby. The owner tipped him $3. Shameful… Matt Hill, who had TEN victories while at N.C. State, including the 2009 NCAA Championship, won on the Minor League Tour. Hill has been grinding for a long time and I am always hopeful he can find his way to the Tour.
I get asked a lot about entry fees for PGA Tour Mondays. It depends on your status. Here is a breakdown:
$0: current Tour members.
$100: current Korn Ferry Tour members and current PGA Tour Champions Regular members.
$450: PGA Section Exemptions (3 players maximum).
$450: Former PGA Tour Members from 2018-2020.
$450: Players making a cut on the PGA Tour in the 2020-2021 season.
$450: Players in the top 100 on the World Golf Rankings as of the non-member entry deadline.
$450: Players in the PGA TOUR event immediately preceding the Open Qualifier.
$300: Current members of the Mackenzie, Latinoamérica and PGA Tour China members as well as winners of 2020 LOCALiQ Series events eligible for one of the above exemptions and therefore exempt into the Open Qualifier.
$250: Successful Pre-Qualifying Professionals & Amateurs/Players Seeking Amateur Status.
$100: Successful Pre-Qualifying members of Mackenzie, Latinoamérica and PGA Tour China as well as winners of 2020 LOCALiQ Series events.