Fowler Earns PGA Tour Card For 2010 Season
By David Shefter, USGA
Far Hills, N.J. – Rickie Fowler came within an eyelash of earning a two-year PGA Tour exemption when he lost a three-man playoff at the Frys.com Open two months ago in Scottsdale, Ariz. But his earnings that week helped the two-time USA Walker Cup Team member bypass the first two stages of Qualifying School.
And the Murrieta, Calif., resident, who left Oklahoma State University after just two seasons, took full advantage of the opportunity by finishing tied for 15th in the finals held at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla. Fowler carded a 2-under 70 on the Lakes Course on Monday to finish the grueling 90-hole event at 11-under-par 421 and secure PGA Tour playing privileges for the 2010 season.
The low 25 golfers and ties earned 2010 PGA Tour cards, with the next 50 receiving full status on the Nationwide Tour. The remaining competitors will have conditional Nationwide Tour status.
Rickie Fowler tied for 15th in the finals held at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla. (John Mummert/USGA)
“I had a lot of confidence coming into the week, but it was still tough,” said Fowler, who went 4-0 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., in September and 8-1 overall in his two Walker Cup appearances, both USA victories. “It was a great experience. I had a chance to get into the top 125 but didn't play well at Disney, so Q-School was the path for me the whole way and I was lucky enough to play well. I kept the ball in front of me all week. I think I hit 15 greens today and that definitely helped keep the stress off. It will be nice to have status next year and hopefully play well."
Fowler was one of four Walker Cup alums to earn PGA Tour cards. He was joined by 2009 teammate Cameron Tringale, 2007 teammate Billy Horschel and 1997 USA Team member Chris Riley. Also getting a card was 2004 USA World Amateur Team member Spencer Levin, who was the low amateur at the 2004 U.S. Open.
Horschel, who carded a USGA championship stroke-play record 60 at the Chaska (Minn.) Town Course during qualifying for the 2006 U.S. Amateur and was a member of the 2008 USA World Amateur Team, finished seventh overall at 16-under 416. The 2009 University of Florida graduate shot a final-round 69 on the Lakes Course.
“It was awesome to make it through this,” said Horschel. “It will probably hit me when I make my reservation to Hawaii [for the Sony Open in January].”
Tringale, a 2009 Georgia Tech graduate, was one of the last two picks for the 2009 Walker Cup. His final-round 67 on the Lakes Course earned him a share of 19th at 10-under 422 with Riley.
“I was talking to my brother, John, before the tournament,” said Tringale. “We decided everything we have done in golf up to this point was to get me ready for Q-School. Grinding through all of those college matches has been great for me. The Walker Cup helped a lot too. It made me realize how many great players there are and it gave me confidence that I could compete because I played well there.”
Levin, who played this past season on the Nationwide Tour following a season on the Canadian Tour, barely achieved his card by finishing tied for 23rd at 9-under 423.
Those with USGA ties who earned full status on the 2010 Nationwide Tour included 2005 U.S. Open darling and 1997 USA Walker Cup Team member Jason Gore (4-under 428). He tied for 48th with 2003 U.S. Amateur runner-up and 2003 Walker Cup participant Casey Wittenberg, who finished 159th on the 2009 PGA Tour money list as a rookie.
Mark Anderson, the 2009 USGA Men’s State Team Championship individual medalist, tied for 34th at 7-under 425. The University of South Carolina graduate had a 68 on the Lakes Course in the final round. Luke List, the 2004 U.S. Amateur runner-up, finished T-42 at 5-under 427.
Those earning conditional status on the Nationwide Tour included two-time USGA champion Colt Knost (437), 1999 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Hunter Haas (433) and 1989 U.S. Junior Amateur champion David Duval (433), who was the runner-up at the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black.
Walker Cup alums Chris Nallen and Kyle Reifers totaled 431 and 432, respectively. Knost, Haas and Duval are also past Walker Cup participants.
David Shefter is a USGA staff writer in the Communications Department. E-mail him with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.