Savannah’s Tim O’Nealhas advanced to the finals of qualifying for the 2020 European Tour, making it through first and second stage qualifiers in Portugal and Spain.
Atlanta resident Samuel Del Val, like O’Neal a former Georgia Open champion, advanced from a first stage qualifier in England, but missed by two shots of advancing from the same second stage qualifier as O’Neal in Spain.
O’Neal, who has played on what is now the Korn Ferry Tour for six full seasons between 2001 and 2014, placed sixth in his first stage qualifier in Portugal, shooting 4-under 284 for 72 holes. After opening with a 3-over 75, he followed with a 65, matching the low round of the tournament. He had nine birdies on the day, half his total for the week. He closed with a pair of even par 72s to finish sixth outright. The top 20 and ties advanced.
Del Val, who has played on all four of the PGA Tour’s satellite tours, tied for seventh in his first stage qualifier, was even par after 36 holes and outside the top 20 before shooting a 7-under 63 in the third round. He closed with a 70 to tie for seventh at 273.
Also competing in a first stage qualifier was Jonathan Keppler of Marietta, the 2019 Georgia Amateur champion. Keppler was under par in three of his four rounds at a different site in England, but shot 79 in the third round and finished 40that 2-over 290, six shots over the number to advance.
O’Neal opened with a 6-under 65 in the second stage qualifier in Spain to end the day tied for second, and stayed in the top 20 with scores of 71-74-74, tying for 14that even par 284. He birdied two of his final four holes in the fourth round to finish inside the top 20 with one shot to spare.
Along with his six full seasons on the KF Tour, O’Neal has played on the LatinoAmerica Tour for several years and won three tournaments. The finals of European Tour qualifying will be played Nov. 15-20 in Spain.
Del Val, a native of Spain who played his college golf at Berry in Rome, shot 66 the first day in Portugal, but followed with a 76 that included a stretch in which he was 6-over for five holes with a triple bogey. He shot 75 in the third round and closed with a 72 to tie for 28that 287. Del Val opened his final round with back-to-back bogeys, but was 3-under for his 15 holes and on the number to advance coming to the par-5 18th.
Prior to that hole, Del Val was 11-under on holes 15 to 18 for the tournament, but made double bogey on his 72ndhole to miss a playoff to advance by two strokes.
While Del Val is out of the European Tour qualifier, he has advanced to the finals of qualifying for the 2020 KF Tour along with a number of other golfers with ties to Georgia.
Del Val, who recently tied for third in the European Tour’s Spanish Open, placed second in a second stage qualifier for the KF Tour in McKinney, Tex., shooting 16-under 272 with scores of 69-71-67-65.
The finals of qualifying for the 2020 KF Tour will be played Dec, 12-15 in Winter Garden, Fla., at Orange County National.
Rick Lamb of St. Simons Island missed by one shot of advancing to the finals, shooting 6-under 282 in the McKinney qualifier to tie for 24th. Also failing to advance was former UGA golfer Mookie DeMoss of Duluth and former Augusta State golfer Derek Chang, an Alpharetta native now living in Texas.
Also finishing second in a second stage qualifier to advance to the finals was recent Augusta State golfer Broc Everett, the 2018 NCAA individual champion. Everett shot 15-under 273 in Brooksville, Fla., closing with scores of 66-67-67 after an opening 73.
Also advancing from Brooksville was former UGA golfer T.J. Mitchell of Albany, who tied for fifth at 275 with scores of 65-69-72-69. Dan Woltman, who lived in Dunwoody for several years before returning to his native Wisconsin, also advanced to the finals.
Among those who failed to advance was Kyle Mueller of Watkinsville, Dru Love of St. Simons, Ryan Stachler of Milton, Kameron Williams of Braselton and former UGA golfer Michael Cromie.
Mueller, who played collegiately at Michigan, was under par in all four rounds with scores of 71-70-70-70, but his 7-under 281 was three shots over the number to advance. Love closed with back-to-back 68s, but missed by six shots largely due to a second round 77. Stachler, who won a Georgia PGA tournament in 2018 while a member of the golf team at South Carolina, shot 68 in the third round, but finished at 1-under 287 with three scores of 73.
Advancing from a qualifier at Plantation, Fla., was recent Coastal Georgia golfer Dalton Ward, now living on St. Simons Island, and veteran tour pro Nicholas Thompson, who played at Georgia Tech. Both tied for 13that 9-under 275. Ward shot 67-74-65-69 to advance with one shot to spare along with Thompson.
Duluth’s Charles Huntzinger, who won the 2016 Dogwood Invitational while playing at Penn State, shot 65 in the final round, but missed advancing by one shot at 277. Recent Georgia Tech golfer Chris Petefish, now living in Cumming, closed with scores of 68-69-69, but missed by three shots at 279. Former Augusta State golfer Jake Marriott, shot 281 with a final round 66.
J.T. Griffin, a former Georgia Tech golfer who is living in Marietta, finished eight at the Highland Oaks course in Dothan, Al., at 7-under 281 to advance along with Alpharetta’s Chandler Eaton, a senior on the Duke golf team. Eaton tied for 12that 283, one shot under the number to advance. Also advancing was former RSM Classic champion Tommy Gainey, who tied for ninth at 282.
Barrett Waters, the 2019 Georgia Open champion, missed by three shots at 287 after a final round 75. Blake Palmer of Dawsonville missed by four at 288, with KF Tour veteran Michael Hebert of Atlanta shooting a third round 77 and missing by five at 289.
Others who failed to advance included Isaiah Logue of Royston (290), who shot a final round 77, former Georgia Southern golfer Scott Wolfes of St. Simons (291), and recent Mercer golfer Stanton Schorr of Columbus (292). Augusta’s Dykes Harbin shot a final round 80 for a 294 total, with former KF Tour players Jimmy Beck of Columbus and Kennesaw State and ex-UGA golfer Lee McCoy also failing to advance.
LPGA QUALIFYING: The only Georgia golfer to earn LPGA Tour status for 2020 in the finals of qualifying was Duluth’s Min Seo Kwak, who will return to the tour after playing there from 2015-17. Kwak tied for 24th, finishing at 1-over in the 144-hole finals at Pinehurst.
Kwak is a veteran of the Symetra Tour, playing from 2009-14 and each of the past two seasons. She won twice and placed second on the money list in 2014, and has finished 11thand 12thin earnings the past two seasons.
Also advancing to finals was Janet Mao of Johns Creek and Eunice Yi of Evans. Mao, who played her college golf at Northwestern and finished fifth in this year’s Georgia Women’s Open, was tied for 10that 4-under after 72 holes on Pinehurst No. 6, but was 19-over the final 72 holes on Pinehurst No. 9.
Yi, who played at Augusta State, did not make the cut to play the final two rounds. Mao tied for 10thin a second stage qualifier in Venice, Fla., to advance to finals, while Yi tied for 24that 283.
Atlanta’s Amanda Doherty and Bailey Tardy of Peachtree Corners, both missed advancing to finals by three shots, shooting 287 in Venice. Tardy left Georgia midway through her senior season and played on the Symetra Tour this past season, finishing 88thon the money list as a rookie. Doherty is a senior at Florida State.
Jessica Welch of Thomasville, the runner-up in the 2019 Georgia Women’s Open, missed by four shots at 288. Ji Eun Baik of Cumming, the 2018 Georgia Women’s Open champion, shot a final round 68 but failed to advance. Katy Harris of St. Simons and Esther Park of Duluth also failed to advance.
The players who did not earn LPGA Tour cards will have at least some status on the 2020 Symetra Tour. Baik was 75thon this year’s money list. Jillian Hollis, Tardy’s UGA teammate, won a tournament on the tour and finished fifth on the money list to earn exempt status on next year’s LPGA Tour. Symetra Tour veteranJean Reynolds of Newnan was 45thin earnings this past season.