FAR HILLS, N.J. – Three members of the victorious 2013 USA Walker Cup Team have plenty to be thankful for this holiday season.
Max Homa, Justin Thomas and Michael Kim – each of whom helped the Americans win back the Walker Cup in September at National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y. – have advanced to the finals of Web.com Tour Qualifying School, to be held Dec. 12-17 at PGA West (TPC Stadium and Nicklaus Tournament courses) in La Quinta, Calif.
Homa and Thomas, both of whom turned professional after the Walker Cup Match, earned their spots at second-stage qualifiers held Nov. 12-15, while Kim, a junior at the University of California-Berkeley, competed last week at Bear Creek Golf Club in Murrieta, Calif. Kim, No. 3 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, was exempt into the second stage by virtue of playing 72 holes at this year’s U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club, where he earned low-amateur honors by tying for 17th.
As one of only two amateurs to reach the finals of Q-School, Kim may have a difficult decision come mid-December. He has 1½ years of college eligibility remaining, yet is on the precipice of achieving a valuable jump-start to his professional career.
The low 45 scorers and ties in the finals earn full status on the Web.com Tour for the 2014 season. The remaining players – approximately 100-115 – will enjoy conditional status. Tour rules stipulate that a player must declare himself a professional if he wants to compete as a Web.com Tour member in 2014.
“I will worry about that after final stage,” Kim told Golfweek.com. “It is a waste of time to think about it now. It’d be difficult, but I’d be happy to have that decision.”
Kim’s former college teammate, Homa, doesn’t have to worry about such weighty issues. The 2013 NCAA Division I champion made a strong professional debut at the PGA Tour’s Frys.com Open in October, tying for ninth. He also made the cut at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open the following week. The next week, he easily advanced from a first-stage qualifier in North Carolina before tying for 16th at his second-stage event at Deerwood Country Club in Kingwood, Texas.
Thomas, an All-American at the University of Alabama, also had little trouble in the first two stages of Q-School. The 2012 U.S. Amateur semifinalist finished fifth at first stage in The Woodlands, Texas, and then tied for fifth at the TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas, to punch his ticket to the finals.
Here is a roundup of how notable players with USGA ties fared in second-stage qualifying:
Deerwood Country Club, Kingwood, Texas (Nov. 12-15)
Besides Homa, 2003 USA Walker Cup member Matt Hendrix finished second, while 2005 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Clay Ogden tied for 16th.
TPC Craig Ranch, McKinney, Texas (Nov. 12-15)
Tyler Weworski, the son of 2004 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Corey Weworski, was the co-medalist at 18-under 270.
Steven Fox, the 2012 U.S. Amateur champion and member of the victorious 2012 USA World Amateur Team, tied for fifth with Thomas.
Olin Browne Jr., the son of 2012 U.S. Senior Open champion Olin Browne, tied for ninth, while 1997 U.S. Junior Amateur champion Jason Allred tied for 16th.
Two USGA champions failed to advance from this site: Jack Newman (2008 U.S. Amateur Public Links) and Cameron Peck (2008 U.S. Junior Amateur). Past USA Walker Cup members Brad Elder (1997) and Kyle Reifers (2005) also failed to qualify, as did Travis Wadkins, the son of 1970 U.S. Amateur champion and Walker Cup alum Lanny Wadkins.
Southern Hills Plantation Club, Brooksville, Fla. (Nov. 19-22)
Blayne Barber, a member of the 2011 USA Walker Cup Team, avenged his disappointment from last year when he disqualified himself from the first stage due to a Rules infraction. The former Auburn standout was the 2013 NGA Tour Rookie of the Year and made two of three cuts on the PGA Tour.
Also advancing was 1987 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion and 1989 Walker Cup member Kevin Johnson, who tied for 16th. Johnson also was the 1988 APL runner-up.
A pair of U.S. Amateur champions failed to advance in Byeong-Hun An (2009) and Bubba Dickerson (2001), while 2010 U.S. Amateur runner-up and 2010 USA World Amateur Team member David Chung also did not qualify. Chung also was the 2004 U.S. Junior Amateur runner-up.
Two-time Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup member Rhys Davies (2005 and 2007) of Wales failed to break 70 in any of his rounds. He won the European Tour’s Trophee Hassan II in 2010.
Mike Van Sickle, a member of the victorious 2009 Pennsylvania squad that won the USGA Men’s State Team Championship, tied for 25th and just missed advancing.
Bear Creek Golf Club, Murrieta, Calif. (Nov. 19-22)
Anthony Paolucci, the other amateur besides Kim to make the Q-School finals, was the medalist after being the only player in his qualifier to break par in all four rounds. The University of Southern California junior and 2007 U.S. Junior Amateur runner-up shot 70-69-71-67 for an 11-under 277.
Three USGA champions failed to advance, including five-time PGA Tour winner Billy Mayfair, who became the first player to claim the U.S. Amateur Public Links (1986) and U.S. Amateur (1987). Jeff Quinney (2000 U.S. Amateur) and Philip Francis (2006 U.S. Junior Amateur) finished T-37 and T-59, respectively.
Walker Cup alums Brock Mackenzie (2003) and Todd Demsey (1993) also failed to advance.
Shell Landing Golf Club, Gautier, Miss. (Nov. 19-22)
Adam Mitchell, a member of the victorious 2009 USA Walker Cup Team, finished sixth. Mitchell has made just 11 Web.com Tour starts since turning pro in 2009.
Brady Watt, a semifinalist in this year’s U.S. Amateur and No. 8 in the WAGR, struggled all week and tied for 69th. John Parry, a member of the 2007 Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup Team, missed advancing by one stroke.
Tadd Fujikawa, who at 16 years of age qualified for the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot n, finished T-48, despite rounds of 70-67 over the final two days. And Nate McCoy, the son of 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Michael McCoy, tied for 67th. McCoy played this past season on the PGA Tour Canada circuit.
Plantation Preserve Golf Course & Club, Plantation, Fla. (Nov. 19-22)
T.J. Vogel, the 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion, tied for 11th with rounds of 67-69-68-72.
Another qualifier was Johnny DelPrete, who made news at this year’s U.S. Women’s Open when he caddied for his girlfriend, 2010 USA Curtis Cup member Jessica Korda, when the LPGA Tour golfer fired her regular caddie midway through the third round.
Among the notables who failed to qualify was 1998 U.S. Amateur champion Hank Kuehne, who missed by four shots.
Lion Kim, the 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion, shot a final-round 79 and missed by seven shots after shooting in the 60s the previous three days.
Drew Weaver, the 2007 British Amateur champion and 2009 USA Walker Cup member, also missed, saving him from having to withdraw from the final stage due to his wedding commitment. Weaver and his fiancée made the wedding date thinking that the Q-School finals would be held a week earlier.
Michael Miller, the medalist at the 2012 USGA Men’s State Team Championship and member of the winning New York side, tied for 26th, despite closing with rounds of 69-67-69. He opened with a disappointing 75.
Sean Jacklin, the son of 1970 U.S. Open champion Tony Jacklin, tied for 67th.
David Shefter is a senior staff writer with the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.