Two Georgia residents and a pair of recent college golfers from the state earned exempt status for the 2015 Web.com Tour in the finals of qualifying, which concluded Dec. 16 in south Florida.
The four qualifiers are Savannah’s Mark Silvers, recent UGA golfer Bryden Macpherson, Atlanta area resident Michael Hebert and 2014 Georgia Tech graduate Richy Werenski.
The top 45 players and ties from the 150-player field earned exempt status, with the other participants gaining non-exempt status.
Silvers, a former Big Break Greenbrier winner on the Golf Channel, tied for 14th in the qualifier, which consisted of six rounds. He shot 10-under 62 on the Fazio course at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, one of two tournament hosts along with the Jack Nicklaus-designed Champions course, the site of the Honda Classic.
Silvers finished with a 12-under 417 total, moving up from 81st to 13th after his 62 in the fourth round. He closed with scores of 69 and 71 to hold his position. Silvers, who played the Web.com Tour on a limited basis the last two years, played his college golf at South Carolina.
MacPherson, who won the British Amateur in 2011 while a member of the Georgia golf team, tied for 21st at 10-under 419 after moving into the top-10 with a third round 66 on the Fazio course. He made seven starts on the Web.com Tour in 2013.
Hebert, a recent member of the golf team at Auburn, tied for 28th at 420. He shot 66 in the fourth round on the Champions course to move up to a tie for 6th after 72 holes. He played in six Web.com events in 2014 and made five cuts.
Werenski qualified on the number at 7-under 422 after being tied for 130th after two rounds. He shot 67-65-69 the next three days tie move up to a tie for 28th, and finished T43 after a final round 72 on the Champions course.
Eight other Georgians made it to the qualifying finals, with two of them unable to improve on their status for 2015.
Augusta’s Scott Parel, who turns 50 in 2015 and almost qualified for the Champions Tour, has Web.com status from his 2013 win in Wichita. He was tied for 51st after 72 holes but slipped back to 94th at 429 after closing with scores of 73-74. He struggled for most of 2014, his 10th season on the tour.
Albany’s Josh Broadaway also has 2015 status after finishing 84th on the 2014 money list. The Web.com Tour veteran tied for 109th in the qualifying finals at 432.
Atlanta area native Brent Witcher tied for 71st at 426 and may be able to get into some early season events. He has had limited status on the tour twice before, making eight starts in 2014. Witcher shot back-to-back 69s in the fourth and fifth rounds, but closed with a 72 the final day on the Fazio course to miss exempt status by four.
Former Georgia Tech golfer Kyle Scott, a Decatur resident, was tied for 2nd after an opening 66, but shot 76 the next day and wound up tied for 94th at even par. He was 10-under for 54 holes on the Fazio course, but 10-over on Champions. Scott has Web.com status for the first time.
Acworth’s James White, Scott’s former Georgia Tech teammate, will also have limited Web.com status after tying for 103rd at 431. A third round 76 on Champions knocked him out of contention. White made four Web.com starts in 2013, tying for 2nd in Knoxville.
Paul Claxton has played 16 of the last 20 years on the Web.com Tour (he was a PGA Tour member the other four), with 2014 the poorest season of his career. The Vidalia native and former Georgia Bulldog had a chance to regain his exempt status in the qualifying finals, but finished a distant 114th at 434 with a final round 66.
Also unable to regain his status on the tour was Savannah’s Tim O’Neal, who shot 78 in the second round and never recovered, ending up T124 at 438.
Macon native Taylor Floyd, a member of Augusta State’s back-to-back national championship teams in 2010 and ‘11, reached the finals of qualifying for the first time, but struggled the first three rounds and tied for 124th despite shooting 3-under the final 54 holes.
Also exempt for next year on the Web.com Tour are 2014 tour winner Kris Blanks, a Warner Robins native and former assistant pro at The Landings in Savannah and top 75 money winners Matt Weibring (Georgia Tech,; Henrik Norlander (Augusta State)and Aron Price (Georgia Southern).
Alpharetta’s Roberto Castro (Georgia Tech), Augusta’s Vaughn Taylor (Augusta State) and Will Wilcox (Clayton State) have limited status on the PGA Tour in 2014-15, and are fully exempt on the Web.com Tour, with former PGA Tour winners Troy Matteson and Ryuji Imada likely to play some on the Web.com Tour this year.
Like Parel, former Georgia residents Justin Bolli (UGA) and Luke List still have status from 2012 victories, as does ex-Georgia Tech golfer Paul Haley, giving Georgia approximately two dozen players with Web.com status for 2015.