Recent Georgia Bulldog Sepp Straka and former Georgia Tech golfer Cameron Tringale turned in clutch performances last week in the Web.com Tour Championship to earn spots on the 2018-19 PGA Tour.
St. Simons Island resident Michael Thompson turned in strong back-to-back efforts in the final two events of the Web.com Finals and will be back on the PGA Tour for the upcoming season, one of four golfers with Georgia ties to finish in the top 25 on the Finals money list.
Gwinnett County native and recent Georgia Tech golfer Seth Reeves had already locked up a spot on the PGA Tour for the 2018-19 season with back-to-back top-5 finishes in the first two Finals tournaments.
Three Georgians — two former Georgia Tech golfers and one ex-Bulldog – finished in the top 25 of the Web.com Tour’s regular season money list and will also be on the PGA Tour for the upcoming season.
Woodstock’s Anders Albertson, a teammate of Reeves at Georgia Tech, improved his position among the top 25 from the regular season, tying for second in the Finals event in Boise to move from eighth at the end of the regular season to third on the final money list.
Also among the top 25 in the regular season was former Georgia Bulldog Joey Garber, a St. Simons resident, and Alpharetta’s Roberto Castro, one of four former Georgia Tech golfers who are moving up from the Web.com to the PGA Tour.
Straka, a native of Austria, attended high school in Valdosta before playing his college golf in Athens, where he resides. He was 31st on the money list in the regular season – his second on the tour — with a win in early August in Kansas City his only top-15 finish. He did not place higher than 50th in the first three events of the Finals, but shot 65-66-64 the first three rounds at Atlantic Beach CC outside Jacksonville to lead the Tour Championship after 54 holes at 18-under.
The 25-year-old Straka was headed for a runner-up finish before he made a triple bogey on the par-4 17th, almost costing him a spot in the top 25 on the Finals money list. He ended up 20th and would not have stayed in the top 25 if he shot higher than the even par 71 he posted in the final round, which got him a tie for third
Like Straka, Tringale did not have a top-50 finish in the first three Finals events before an outstanding effort in the Tour Championship. He was among the first round leaders with an 8-under 63, and remained near the top of the leader board the rest of the tournament. He closed with a 69, which was just good enough to get him into the top 25 in earnings for the Finals thanks to his T3 finish in the tournament. He wound up just behind Straka at 21 in earnings. Tringale has played nine seasons on the PGA Tour, and placed between 56 and 67 in the FedExCup standings five straight years from 2011-15. He has been outside the top 100 the last three seasons, and fell all the way to 195 this year, forcing a second straight successful trip to the Web.com Finals.
Thompson has played on the PGA Tour the past eight seasons, and has been remarkably consistent the last four, finishing 146, 145, 148 and 142 on the points list. He has played in the Web.com Finals three of the last four years and has regained his exempt status each time, finishing second in a tournament in 2015 and winning the event in Boise in 2016. After missing the cut in his first two starts in the Finals this year, he tied for sixth in Boise to move up to 18 in earnings and narrowly remained in the top 25 with a tie for 21st in the Tour Championship. He finished 23rd in the Finals money list.
Reeves needed to finish T4 and T16 in the final two events of the regular season to move into the top 75 at 66 on the money list, and continued his strong play by tying for fifth and fourth in the first two Finals events, both in Ohio. He wound up 12th in earnings for the Finals, and moves up to the PGA Tour after two solid seasons on the Web.com.
After placing around 60th in earnings in his first two Web.com seasons, Albertson emerged as one of the tour’s top players in 2018. He led the tour in birdies and scoring average and scored his first win in Illinois, finishing eighth on the regular season money list. With finishes of ninth in Cleveland and a tie for second in Boise, he moved up to third after the Finals, and will be a rookie on the PGA Tour in 2018 along with Reeves, with the two joining Georgia Tech teammates Ollie Schniederjans and Richy Werenski.
Like Albertson and Reeves, Garber will also be a PGA Tour rookie this upcoming season. Playing in his first season on the Web.com Tour in 2018, Garber won the event in Raleigh and ended the regular season 19th in earnings. He played in the first two Finals tournaments and skipped the last two after competing in 24 of the first 25 events on the schedule. The 2018-19 PGA Tour season begins 10 days after the conclusion of the 2018 Web.com Tour Championship.
Castro did not play in any of the four events in the Finals after playing one of the lightest schedules of anyone who finished in the top 25 on the Web.com Tour. With two young children at home, Castro played in only 14 of 27 Web.com events in 2018, but was one of the tour’s best when he competed. He placed in the top 10 in fairways hit, greens in regulation, putting and scoring, and was ranked No. 1 in the all around category despite finishing outside the top 100 in driving distance. In one stretch, Castro finished in the top 10 in four straight starts, beginning with a runner-up showing in the inaugural event at the Landings in Savannah.
Although he will begin the 2018-19 PGA Tour schedule as the 47th of 50 Web.com graduates in the priority rankings, all 50 got into each of the five U.S. events that make up the fall portion of the schedule, and Castro will have the chance to improve his status if he plays well in them. Castro played on the PGA Tour from 2012 to ’17 and twice qualified for the Tour Championship, but did not crack the top 100 in his other four seasons.
Three former St. Simons residents also will be back on the PGA Tour when the 2018-19 season begins next week in California. Scott Langley and Josh Teater both finished in the top 15 on the Web.com regular season money list, while former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover placed second in the Web.com Tour Championship to retain his status.
Glover was just outside the top 100 in the FedExCup standings after the 2018 U.S Open, but did not play again the rest of the PGA Tour season and fell to 135th. He would have had partial status on the PGA Tour in 2018-19, but improved that by placing seventh in the Web.com Finals on the strength of his runner-up finish in the Tour Championship.
Former Augusta State standout Henrik Norlander narrowly missed returning to the PGA Tour, finishing 27th at Finals after placing 32nd in earnings during the regular season. Norlander, who has played on both the Web.com and PGA Tours in recent seasons, had a top-10 and two top 25s in the Finals, but came up less than $800 short of a top-25 finish. He birdied his last two holes in the final round, but missed by one shot short of earning enough money to qualify for the PGA Tour.
Suwanee resident David Skinns, a 2018 Web.com Tour winner, will be back on the tour next year along with Alpharetta’s Billy Kennerly, former UGA golfer Erik Compton and Willy Wilcox, who played his college golf at Clayton State. All finished outside the top 25 in Finals.
Jonathan Byrd, a St. Simons resident who has played on the PGA Tour since 2002, faces a third season out of the last four on the Web.com Tour after finishing outside the top 150 on the FedExCup points list and placing outside the top 50 in the Web.com Finals.