Eight players with ties to Georgia earned PGA Tour status for the 2013-14 season with their play on the 2013 Web.com Tour – four for their play in the regular season and four from the first ever Web.com Finals series of tournaments.
Several other Georgians will retain exempt status on the 2014 Web.com Tour, with
others looking to earn a spot on through the qualifying process, which is being conducted through mid-December.
Leading the way among the four who finished top 25 in earnings during the regular season was recent Georgia Tech golfer Chesson Hadley, who missed by the narrowest of margins of finishing first on the Finals money list. Hadley won the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., but wound up finishing $567 behind Finals leading money winner John Peterson.
Hadley was 3rd on the regular season money list with $306,000, highlighted by a win in his hometown (Raleigh, N.C.). Hadley, who just missed qualifying for the 2013 PGA Tour, enjoyed an outstanding rookie season, with six top-6 finishes during the regular season and two more in the Finals. The rangy Hadley is a big hitter with a deft putting touch, and should be among the contenders for PGA Tour Rookie of the Year in 2014. He begins the season as the No. 3 player from the Web.com priority list.
Brendon Todd finished the 2013 Web.com season 20th in earnings, but moved up to 12th in the Finals with a tie for 2nd in the Tour Championship, shooting a 65 in the final round, the low score of the day. Todd, a member of Georgia’s 2005 NCAA Championship team, split his playing time between the PGA and Web.com Tours and played extremely well on both. He made enough money in just six Web.com starts to earn a spot in the top 25, winning the Stadion Classic at UGA and notching three other top-15 finishes. He added a pair of top 20s in the first two events in the Finals. This will be Todd’s third season on the PGA Tour. He qualified through the Nationwide (now Web.com) Tour in 2008 and was the Q-school medalist in 2011.
Kevin Kisner, a teammate of Todd on the Bulldogs’ 2005 championship team, also will be playing his third season on the PGA Tour after placing 14th on the Web.com money list. Kisner, who was 11th in his rookie Web.com season in 2010, has victories in each of his two seasons on the tour, winning early in 2013 in Chile. He tied for 3rd in the Finals opener in Indiana, and ended up 15th on that money list, and finished among the top 10 in both putting stats. Kisner, a native and resident of Aiken, S.C., finished outside the top 150 on the PGA Tour in 2011 and ’12.
Recent Clayton State golfer Will Wilcox enjoyed a banner third season on the Web.com Tour, winning for the first time in Valdosta and shooting a final round 59 in Boise to tie for 3rd, one of three top 10s in a late-season stretch of four tournaments. But after finishing 7th on the money list, Wilcox elected not to compete in the Finals, and dropped to 49th out of 50 in the priority rankings. Wilcox ended the 2013 season 2nd in the all around rankings, with his ball striking stats particularly impressive.
Former Georgia Tech golfer Troy Matteson retained his PGA Tour status after eight seasons and two wins, placing 17th on the Finals money list. Matteson was 167th in the FedExCup standings this season, by far his poorest career showing, missing 14 of 24 cuts with only two top-25 finishes. He tied for 6th in the second of four events in the Web.com Finals and was 14th the next week to secure his status for the 2013-14 PGA Tour season.
Heath Slocum was one of the steadiest players on the PGA from 2002-10, but after two seasons slightly below his standards in 2011 and ’12, suffered through a dismal showing this season on both the PGA and Web.com Tours. Slocum’s best finish was a tie for 30th at Pebble Beach, and he barely qualified for the Finals, finishing just inside the top 200 on the PGA Tour money list. But he saved his season, placing 8th, 17th and 17th in the last three tournaments comprising the finals to finish 19th on the priority list. Slocum, who lives in the North Fulton suburb of Milton, has four career PGA Tour wins, including the 2009 Barclays and the inaugural McGladrey Classic in 2010.
Hudson Swafford will join former UGA teammates Harris English, Russell Henley and Brian Harman of the PGA Tour after placing 21st in the Finals. Swafford won the Web.com Tour event in Athens as a rookie in 2012 but fell out of the top 25 late in the season, and did not play as well this year, slipping to 61st in earnings with a tie for 9th his best finish. But Swafford played well in the Finals placing 14th, 7th and 24th in the last three events, and will be a PGA Tour rookie in 2013-14.
Swainsboro native Will Claxton was a PGA Tour rookie in 2012 after a number of years on the mini-tours, and managed to retain his tour card after a respectable first season. But Claxton fell to 169th this year and had to play in the Web.com Finals to retain his status. Claxton tied for 7th in the first of the four tournaments and was T14 two weeks later, and is 21st on the priority list.
A number of other Georgians competed in the Web.com Finals but did not earn PGA Tour status for 2013-14. All of them will be exempt on the 2014 Web.com Tour.
Augusta’s Vaughn Taylor, who has played the PGA Tour the last 10 years with two wins and a Ryder Cup appearance, has only past champion’s status, which will get him into a handful of events. Taylor finished just outside the top 150 on the FedExCup points list, recording five top-25 finishes in 16 starts with a T10 in Charlotte his best showing. But he played only two Web.com event after a season-opening top 10 in Panama, and played well in only one of the four Finals tournaments, tying for 8th at a course just outside Charlotte. Needing to finish 35th or better on the Finals money list, Taylor ended up 42nd, $4,475 behind the final player to earn his PGA Tour card.
Warner Robins native Kris Blanks was sidelined almost the entire season with an injury. He played only two rounds in Phoenix before returning for the Web.com Finals, finishing 28th and 17th in two tournaments and missing the cut in the other two. Blanks has played the PGA Tour since 2009, and will begin the 2013-14 season on a limited medical extension.
Veteran Scott Dunlap turned 50 in August to become eligible for the Champions Tour, but will not be exempt. The Duluth resident retains exempt Web.com status, where he has played every year since 2003. He has also played seven seasons on the PGA Tour, most recently in 2012. Dunlap played well early in the season with three top-6 finishes in his first 10 starts, but missed the cut in eight of his last 12 appearances, including three of four in the Finals and finished 51st on the regular season money list.
Ex-Georgia Southern golfer Aron Price was 68th during the regular season and 68th on the Finals money list. He was in position to earn his PGA Tour card after being among the leaders midway through the Web.com Tour Championship, but fell back on the weekend. Price will be back on the Web.com Tour for a third straight season after playing the PGA Tour from 2009-11.
Henrik Norlander, a member of Augusta State’s back-to-back national championship teams in 2010 and ’11, earned $400,000 as a PGA Tour rookie, but that was only good enough for 159th in the FedExCup standings. Norlander will play the Web.com Tour in 2014 after placing 76th in the Finals, missing two cuts and fading after an opening 66 in the Tour Championship.
Augusta’s Scott Parel seemed on the verge of joining the PGA Tour at the age of 48 after scoring his first Web.com win in Wichita. But his next best finish in the regular season was a tie for 33rd, with a T28 his best showing in the Finals. Parel finished 31st on the regular season money list and was 83rd in the Finals. Parel has played on the Web.com Tour every year since 2003.
Luke List struggled through a disappointing rookie season on the PGA Tour, finishing 163 on the points list with just one top-20 finish. Things did not get any better for the former north Georgia resident in the Web.com Finals, where he finished 100th on the money list. He will be back on the Web.com Tour in 2014 after leading the PGA Tour in driving distance, but placing dead last in fairways hit.
Justin Bolli, who grew up in Roswell and made the golf team at Georgia as a walk on, will have status on both the PGA and Web.com Tours after finishing 150th in the FedExCup standings. Bolli, who earned his 2013 PGA Tour card by winning the 2012 Web.com Tour Championship, missed the cut in his three Finals starts after making just six of 23 cuts on the PGA Tour.
Web.com Tour veterans Paul Claxton (UGA/St. Simons Island resident) and Albany’s Josh Broadaway will have conditional status for the 2014 season after finishing 81 and 95 respectively on the money list. Claxton has played 15 full seasons on the tour and is 2nd on the all time money list.
Richard Scott, Kyle Reifers and James White all finished just outside the top 100 in earnings, with Reid Edstrom, Michael Sims and former PGA Tour winner Ryuji Imada farther down the money list. They will need to return to Q-school to regain their status for 2014.