By Mike Blum
A sizeable number of golfers with Georgia ties advanced from first stage PGA Tour
qualifiers in mid-to-late October at several sites.
Among the courses to host first stage qualifiers was Kinderlou Forest in Valdosta, the site
of the annual Nationwide Tour South Georgia Classic.
A handful of Georgians advanced from the qualifier, including 2010 Georgia Open
champion Samuel Del Val, who played on golf team at Berry and now lives in Augusta.
Del Val shot a final round 67, the low score of the day, to vault from 48th place to 15th,
advancing by one stroke. The top 21 and ties moved on to the second of three stages of
Six second stage qualifiers will take place Nov. 15-19, with the top finishers advancing to
the finals in southern California Nov. 30-Dec. 5.
Del Val finished with a 3-under 285 total, shooting 7-under 137 the final two rounds after
being tied for 58th after opening scores of 73-75.
Also advancing were Dawsonville’s Jamie Bowen, Duluth’s Brent Witcher and
Clayton Rask, a Nationwide Tour player living in Hampton.
Bowen opened with a 68 to tie for 2nd after the first round and never fell out of the top 10,
finishing tied for 9th at 283. Witcher had an up-and-down week, posting scores of 69-75-
66-74—284, tying for 12th. Rask, who was 92nd on the Nationwide Tour money list this
season, tied for 6th at 282.
A number of Georgians competing at Kinderlou Forest narrowly missed advancing.
Covington’s Jonathan Fricke moved into the top 20 with a third round 67, but shot 74
the final day to miss by one stroke at 287. Forsyth’s Jay McLuen, like Fricke a veteran
mini-tour player with some Nationwide Tour experience, was tied for 5th after 36 holes
at 139, but shot 73-76 the last two days to miss by two at 288. Also missing by two was
former Georgia Tech golfer John Griffin and ex-Georgia Bulldog David Miller, who
both shot final round 74s.
Nationwide Tour member Major Manning, who played his college golf at Augusta
State, was T15 after 54 holes, but struggled in the back nine the final day and shot 77 to
miss by three at 289. Savannah’s Adam Cohan closed with a 68, but missed by four after
shooting 78 the previous day.
Also failing to advance were: ex-Tech golfer Chesson Hadley (290), Peach State Tour
Player of the Year Mark Silvers of Savannah (294), Douglasville’s Kurt Valley (294)
and Roswell’s Jeff Ely (296).
Three Georgia tour players advanced from a qualifier in St. Augustine, Fla. Savannah’s
Brian Harman, who has enjoyed early professional success since completing his college
career at Georgia in 2009, tied for 2nd at 16-under 272, shooting four rounds in the 60s to
finish one behind medalist Sam Saunders.
David Robinson of Sandersville, who has played limited Nationwide Tour schedules the
last two years, tied for 5th at 273 after being among the top three after each of the first
three rounds. Robinson has made it to finals the last two years, but was unable to earn
more than minimal Nationwide Tour status either time.
Former Nationwide Tour player Scott Parel of Augusta made it on the number at 278,
tying for 20th. Parel led after an opening 65 and was tied for 5th at 205 after 54 holes, but
shot 73 the final day, needing birdies at 16 and 17 to advance after a double bogey at the
Former UGA golfer David Denham of Tifton missed by two shots at 280 despite a
second round 65 and a closing 69. Also failing to advance were Savannah’s William
Smith (286) and Dalton’s Matt Hughes (287).
Richard Scott, another ex-Bulldog, was medalist at Pinewild CC in Pinehurst, N.C., at 7-
under 281. Scott was one of four golfers who play out of St. Simons to advance from the
Recent UGA golfer Hudson Swafford opened with a 67 and tied for 10th at 286. Drew
Weaver shot a final round 69 to place 17th at 289, with Nationwide Tour player Michael
Sims T18 at 290.
Nationwide Tour player Brent Delahoussaye, who grew up in Alpharetta, was T15 after
a third round 69, but shot 80 the final day to miss by four shots at 295. Delahoussaye was
86th on the money list this year and will have limited Nationwide Tour status in 2012.
Recent Georgia Tech golfer Paul Haley tied for 2nd in a qualifier in Texas, shooting a
final round 67 for a 9-under 279 total.
In first stage qualifiers played the previous week, seven Georgians advanced from two
sites, with several others falling just short.
Two Georgians who played in college at Auburn and now live there, advanced from a
first stage qualifier at the Auburn University Club.
Swainsboro native Will Claxton, who made nine Nationwide Tour starts this season, tied
for 3rd at 6-under 282. Claxton was under par in each of the four rounds. Fellow Auburn
alum Reid Edstrom, who grew up in Norcross and has Nationwide Tour experience, tied
for 5th at 283, closing with a 68.
Christian Ries of Columbus led after an opening round 68 and wound up T8 at 285, with
mini-tour veteran Hank Kim of Jonesboro advancing on the number, tying for 19th at
Recent Georgia Tech golfer Kyle Scott, now living in Decatur, missed by one shot at 292
after a final round 70 that included an eagle and two birdies on the last six holes. Also
failing to advance were Fayetteville’s Wade Binfield, St. Simons’ Gordon Strother and
Albany’s Jason Flowers.
Advancing from Kannapolis, N.C., were three golfers from the state’s top three college
programs – Georgia’s Adam Mitchell, Augusta State’s Patrick Reed and Georgia
Tech’s Taylor Hall.
Mitchell, who lives in Atlanta, tied for 6th at 8-under 276, shooting 66-69-69 the last three
rounds. Reed, who helped the Jaguars win back-to-back national titles in 2010 and ’11,
was 2nd after an opening 64 and finished T8 at 277. Hall, a LaGrange native, shot 65 the
first day and held on to advance on the number, tying for 21st at 280.
Among those failing to advance was Mitch Krywulycz, Reed’s teammate at Augusta
State. He missed by six shots at 286, shooting 71 each of the last three rounds. Hooters
Tour player David Skinns of Suwanee also shot 286, with John Saari of Lilburn
Former Georgia Tech golfers Mike Pearson and David Dragoo both missed by slim
margins in Nevada. Pearson, a Roswell resident who grew up in Snellville, missed by one
shot at 6-under 282. Pearson was tied for 8th going to the final round, but closed with a
73. Dragoo missed by two at 283 after an opening round 74.
Derek Oakey of LaGrange, who played his college golf at Georgia State, missed by three
shots of advancing in Houston, posting a 295 total. Former Georgia Tech golfer Chan
Song, now living in Cartersville, shot 289 in Lakeland, Fla., to miss by seven shots.