19th Hole: Seven eGolf Stars Earn PGA Status
Seven golfers with eGolf Professional Tour ties were among the 25 who earned their PGA Tour cards in the Qualifying Tournament held in West Palm Beach, Fla., last week, according to Stewart Moore, Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Public Relations.
Sandhills residents became familiar with the eGolf Tour earlier this year when it staged two regular-season events and the Tour Championship on area courses.
A spring tour event was hosted by Seven Lakes Country Club and Little River Golf and Resort and a summer event by Mid Pines and Pine Needles, which also staged the Tour Championship earlier this fall.
A field of 170 players competed in the Tour qualifier, with the top 25 and ties earning berths on the PGA Tour. The next nearest number to 50 earned full exempt status for the first 12 events on the 2010 Nationwide Tour. The other players will have conditional status for the initial 12 tournaments and will be ranked in the order they finished.
Martin Flores, Brendon de Jonge, Billy Horschel, David Lutterus, Kris Blanks, Cameron Tringale and Brent Delahoussaye are the seven eGolf Tour players who earned full status.
Flores and de Jonge were the leaders of the group, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
Flores spent part of the 2009 season on the Nationwide Tour, earning $21,950 in nine starts. DeJonge will be joining the PGA for the third time. He was on the Tour in 2007 and 2009 but finished 139th on the money list and was forced to return to Q-school. He finished with a torrid 66 to shoot 415 for the six rounds.
Kris Blanks had to come back from near oblivion to qualify. Blanks, who is from Bluffton, S.C., opened with a horrendous 77 but fought back with rounds of 65-67-69-68 to tie for fourth and then coast into the elite top 25 with a final-round 74.
One of the more touching stories of the event was that of veteran eGolf player Brent Delahoussaye. The former Clemson star played the eGolf Tour from 2005 to 2007, then earned Nationwide status for 2008-2009.
Delahoussaye was in good shape until the fifth round, when he posted what seemed to be a disastrous 75. But he rallied with a closing 69 for a 423 total and earned his card.
He didn't even seem too disappointed that he and his fiance, who are getting married in January, would have to change their honeymoon plans and spend it in Hawaii.
"I'm sure she'll be all right with that," he said.
Fairmont native William McGirt earned provisional status on the Nationwide Tour, tying for 90th with 78-71-73-70-71-70--433.
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