By Jon Levy - Staff Writer
June 9, 2010
In his 35th start on the Nationwide Tour, after two seasons on the PGA TOUR in ’08 and ‘09, former Gateway Tour member, Tommy Gainey — a.k.a. “Tommy Two Gloves” — won his first event on the Nationwide Tour last week at the Melwood Prince George’s County Open. He posted rounds of 69/69/64/65-267 (17 under), including an impressive birdie on the par 5 last, to take a one-shot victory over Frank Lickliter II and fellow Gateway Tour Alum, Jin Park.
Former Gateway Tour member, Adam Meyer, also secured a spot in the top-10 to continue a fine streak of multiple Gateway Tour Alumni securing top-10s in any given event on the Nationwide Tour, but the story of the week in Maryland was clearly about the South Carolina native, Gainey.
“It’s unbelievable. I don’t know any other way to describe it,” the colorful Gainey quoted in pgatour.com’s recap of the event. “This is one step in getting back to the PGA TOUR but this is also to say that these guys out here on the Nationwide Tour are really great players. There are no slouches out here.”
A former member of The Gateway Tour’s Beach and RJGT Series, Gainey had steadily improved his game before earning his 2008 PGA TOUR at Q-School Finals in the fall of ’07. He went on to earn over $500,000 during that rookie ’08 season, highlighted mainly by his runner-up finish at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic that moved him from 228th on the money list to within the top-150 in the final money standings for the year. Playing then with his time split on both the PGA and Nationwide Tours last year, (starting 15 events on the PGA TOUR and 13 on Nationwide) Gainey made just seven of 15 cuts on the PGA TOUR, with $128,347 in earnings, but 11 of 13 on the Nationwide Tour, with $45,982 in earnings, to earn his way back on the Nationwide circuit this year.
Before his $108,000 victory on Sunday, Gainey’s 2011 had already given good reason to think he’d be holding a Nationwide Tour trophy before season’s end. Though he made just five of 10 cuts on the year entering the week, “Two Gloves” notched a T2 at the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SUNNEX Corporation and a third place finish at the Panama Ciaro Championship.
Jumping 18 spots to No. 2 in THE 25 with the win, Gainey has reached $191,640 for the year, trailing leading money-winner and fellow Gateway Tour Alum, Kevin Chappell ($197,921), by just over $6,000.
PGA TOUR Update
While no former Gateway Tour players notched top-10s at last week’s Memorial, Jeff Overton had a noteworthy performance for a third straight week. Finishing T12 at 8 under, Overton’s $117,600 effort comes directly on the heels of his T2 and T3 finishes at the HP Byron Nelson Championship and Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. Now standing at over $1.8 million in earnings this season and at 16th in the FedEx Cup race, Overton’s run of finishing 2nd, MC, T2, T3 and T12 in his last six starts have him itching for his first PGA TOUR win. Surely, with more fine play like his 53-under par aggregate during this period — on some tough golf courses to boot — his first TOUR win isn’t far off.
Also coming in with a noteworthy performance at the Memorial Tournament was Sean O’Hair, who, after finishing T12 along with Overton, is showing signs of contending on a regular basis again. O’Hair has accrued 24 total top-10s on the PGA TOUR, including three victories, and after a $4.3 million 2009 and T4 at the season-opening SBS Championship this year, the 2005 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year was again looking forward to another great season. But, although he hadn’t played overly poorly in his next 12 events before entering The Memorial — with nine of 12 cuts made — his T12 three weeks ago at the HP Byron Nelson Championship was his only other finish within the top-15. A pair of T12s in just the past three weeks, however, says things are once again looking up for O’Hair.
Stay tuned to see how his and Overton’s seasons continue to progress, as well as the rest of the talented Gateway Tour Alumni on the PGA TOUR.
Click here for full field results of the Memorial Tournament presented by Morgan Stanley,here for full field results of the Melwood Prince George’s County Open andhere for pgatour.com’s recap of Tommy Gainey’s win…