ALUMNI UPDATE –RECAP OF PGA TOUR FINALE, NATIONWIDE TOUR’S WINN-DIXIE JACKSONVILLE OPEN

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By Ryan Woodcock

The PGA TOUR concluded its year on Sunday at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, and Kevin Chappell ended his year on a high note.  The PGA TOUR rookie shot 70-66-66-72 to finish T3 at 14-under par.  It was Chappell’s second third-place finish this season (T3 at U.S. Open), and his third finish in the Top-3 in 2011 (2nd at Valero Texas Open).  He actually held a share of the 54-hole lead, but struggled to an even-par 72 on the final day to fall to third.  He did earn $244,000 with the win, and jumped from 83rd to 66th on the PGA TOUR money list.

For the week, a total of 16 former GPT players made the cut, with five players finishing in the Top-16.  Kris Blanks shot a final-round 67 and finished 11th at 12-under par, good enough for his seventh Top-25 of the year.  He has finished 10th, T11 and T11 in his last three starts.

Gary Woodland earned his 15th Top-25 finish of the year after finishing T12 at 11-under, while rookie Steven Bowditch and Andres Gonzales finished T16 at 10-under.  For Bowditch, it was his sixth Top-25 of the year.

This was the last chance for players to either keep their position or jump into the Top-125 on the PGA TOUR money list to keep their cards for next year.  Bobby Gates knows all too well the importance of getting into the Top-125, and he fell just short to finish in the uncomfortable 126th slot.  He missed a six-foot putt on the final hole, but appeared to still be on the bubble at 125 until D.J. Trahan drained a 22-foot putt for birdie on his final hole to edge out Gates by just $1,431 for the 125th and final spot. 

Because he finished 126-150, Gates at least will get a pass through to the final stage of PGA TOUR Q-School, but that’s a small consolation right now.  Six other former players failed to get into the Top-125, but will advance to final stage of Q-School along with Gates for finishing 126-150 – Bill Lunde (130), Steven Bowditch (132), Matt Jones (133), Matt McQuillan (137), William McGirt (141), Zack Miller (147).

Brandt Snedeker finished highest among all of our former players on the Top-125 at 14th, followed by Bubba Watson (16), Gary Woodland (17) and Martin Laird at (23).

For complete results from the Children’s Miracle Network Classic, CLICK HERE.  For a look at the final PGA TOUR money list, CLICK HERE

NATIONWIDE TOUR – WINN DIXIE JACKSONVILLE OPEN

While the PGA TOUR concluded with players jockeying for position in the Top-125, the Nationwide Tour, with two tournaments left, has players vying for positioning on THE 25.  This week the stop was in Jacksonville for the Winn-Dixie Open, and players were looking to keep their spot in THE 25, jump into THE 25, or jump into the Top-60 to earn a spot at next week’s season-ending Tour Championship.

For the week, 23 players made the cut, with three finishing in the Top-10, five in the Top-11 and 10 in the Top-21. 

Mark Anderson shot even-par for the week and finished T7, good enough to better his positioning on THE 25 from the bubble to 19th.  It was his fourth Top-10 of the year, and follows up his runner-up finish last week that came after he had missed three straight cuts.

John Kimbell and Ted Potter also finished T7 along with Anderson.  Potter continues his stellar year with his sixth Top-10 finish, and moves up one spot to second on THE 25, while Kimbell’s effort was good enough to bump him 10 spots to 57th to secure a spot in the field of next week’s season-ending Tour Championship.  Kimbell was one of only two players to play his way into the Top-60 to secure his spot in the Tour Championship.

B.J. Staten fired a tournament-low 6-under 64 in the final round to finish T18 with Brent Delahoussaye, who opened with rounds of 68-69.  Staten’s 64 was one shot off the course record.

Richard Lee, Garth Mulroy and Tyrone Van Aswegen all finished T21 at 3-over par, while Ken Duke, John Mallinger, Andrew Svoboda and Nicholas Thompson all finished T26 at 4-over par.  Mallinger’s T26 broke his string of six straight Top-10 finishes.

Andersen’s six spot jump was the biggest move on THE 25 for former Gateway Pro Tour players this week, and he can breathe a little easier now with just one tournament left.  There are currently 12 former players on THE 25, led by Potter in the second spot.  Gary Christian dropped one spot to eighth, Troy Kelly dropped a spot to ninth, and Mallinger fell one spot to 11th.  Others on the list include Kyle Thompson (13th), Every (16th), Steve Wheatcroft (17th), Martin Flores (20th), Mulroy (18th), Anderson (19th), Roberto Castro (22nd) and James Nitties (23rd). 

For complete results from the Winn Dixie Jacksonville Open, CLICK HERE.  For a look at the current THE 25, CLICK HERE

KODAK CHALLENGE

One more thing to recap before we sign off for the week – With the conclusion of the PGA TOUR season, so concludes the Kodak Challenge.  For the third straight year (and it’s only been going on for three years) a former Gateway Pro Tour player won the Kodak Challenge, pocketing a cool $1 million cash prize.  Kevin Streelman won the inaugural Kodak Challenge, Troy Merritt took it last year, and this year the title went to Bill Lunde!

Lunde led for the majority of the year, and had a comfortable two-shot lead coming into the final week.  The final Kodak hole was the 485-yard, par-4 17th on the Magnolia Course, and after nobody within striking distance could card a miraculous eagle, Lunde became an instant millionaire.  He finished the Challenge, which designates 30 holes throughout the year and takes lowest cumulative score from the best 18, at 19-under par.  Congratulations Bill!

The 2011 PGA TOUR season is now in the books, and the Nationwide Tour has its swan song next week with the season-ending Tour Championship at the Daniel Island Club in Charleston, South Carolina, Oct. 27-30.  Check back here for a recap and see who’s in and who’s out in THE 25. 

Good luck everyone!