By Jon Levy - Staff Writer
July 21, 2009
The Open Championship
Wishing for a pure fairytale in every sense of the word, it’s true; most of the golfing world was rooting for Tom Watson to pull off the unthinkable at Turnberry in the 138th Open Championship. But, as the oldest golf championship in the world finally concluded with an anticlimactic finish that had reality setting in as Stewart Cink made his birdie putt on the 18th, The Gateway Tour still kept an eye on the big picture of how its former players were faring on Scotland’s west coast.
And of the eleven former players competing in this year’s Open Championship, it was former Desert Series player, Jeff Overton, who led the group with a solid T13 finish. The finish was his best in a major championship to date and also one that helps him move to 55th in the FedEx Cup rankings and $947,034 in ’09 earnings. With six Top 15 finishes on TOUR already this year, Overton is now well on his way to another million dollar + season on the PGA TOUR in a career that’s netted him over $3.4 million since just 2006.
Other Gateway Alum finishes in the 138th Open Championship are as follows:
Steve Marino: T38
Sean O’Hair: T65
Fredrik Andersson Hed: T65
J.B. Holmes: 69th
Charley Hoffman: MC (+5)
Martin Laird: MC (+6)
Mark Brown: MC (+7)
Bubba Watson: MC (+8)
Brandt Snedeker: MC (+9)
Ken Duke: MC (+10)
The U.S. Bank Championship
Admittedly — even with the 59-year old Watson’s historic run at the lady Turnberry — the true story of the week in our book belongs to the fact that four former Gateway Tour players scored in the Top 10 at the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee!
Losing in a dramatic sudden-death playoff to Bo Van Pelt but garnering his best finish on the PGA TOUR, John Mallinger’s runner-up showing netted him over $400,000 and a push up to $1.6 million in ’09 earnings and 34th in the FedEx Cup race. The former Desert and Pacific Series player has now earned over $1 million in each of his last three seasons on the PGA TOUR, and with three other Top 10’s on TOUR to his credit already this year to aid this past weekend’s effort, he doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Likewise, neither does Jeff Quinney (T4), Spencer Levin (T7), or Kris Blanks (T7) who also landed in the Top 10 at Brown Deer Park to garner their best PGA TOUR finishes of the year.
In just eight short years of The Gateway Tour’s existence, the Tour’s mission of providing an environment where players can build the skills necessary to compete on the PGA TOURbecomes a reality more and more with weeks like this in Milwaukee.
Who’s next to break out into the spotlight and bring The Gateway Tour’s mission to life?
Of the 52 former Gateway Tour players on the PGA TOUR and 89 former players on the Nationwide Tour this year, we’re always eager each week to find out. *