02/23/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/23/2021 16:08
Here is a look at the four players who Monday-qualified for the Puerto Rico Open. The qualifier was held in West Palm Beach, Florida, and the last spot was decided by a three-for-one playoff.
Age: 25College: UC Santa BarbaraTurned pro: 2019PGA TOUR starts: 0Cuts Made: 0Best PGA TOUR finish: N/APGA TOUR earnings: $0Twitter: N/ANotes: This will be his first start on any of the PGA TOUR-sanctioned tours … Made just one birdie on the three par-5s at the Monday qualifier but birdied six of the par fours … Shot a closing 62 to win the Scottsdale Open, which was played during the COVID break. Smith was in the final group with PGA TOUR member Joel Dahmen … Finished runner-up to TOUR winner Charlie Beljan at Arizona Open … Ranked as high as 75th in World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) before turning pro … Was only the second player in UC Santa Barbara history to qualify as an individual for the NCAA Championship … Named All-Big West performer three times.
Age: 23College: Michigan State UniversityTurned Pro: 2019PGA TOUR starts: 2Cuts made: 0Best PGA TOUR finish: N/APGA TOUR earnings: $0
Notes: Third successful PGA TOUR Monday qualifier in last seven months … Monday-qualified in back-to-back events at Rocket Mortgage Classic and Workday Charity Open … Lost in a playoff at Puerto Rico Open Monday qualifier last year … Is a Korn Ferry Tour member, having made it from pre-qualifying to final stage in 2019 … In his only season at Michigan State set the lowest season-long scoring average in school history … Won four American Junior Golf Association events in 2014, second all-time in a season behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Age: 29College: Tri-County Technical CollegeTurned pro: 2014PGA TOUR starts: 2
Cuts made: 0Best PGA TOUR finish: N/A
PGA TOUR earnings: $0
Notes: Is a Korn Ferry Tour member after finishing 126th at final stage … Made one Korn Ferry start in 2020 at the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper, where he missed the cut … Has two career PGA TOUR starts, his last at the 2016 Zurich Classic of New Orleans … Made 10 cuts in 22 career starts on PGA TOUR CANADA-Mackenzie Tour and finished 82nd on 2019 Order of Merit.
Age: 25College: University of IllinoisTurned pro: 2018PGA TOUR starts: 15
Cuts made: 7
Best PGA TOUR finish: T7 Sanderson Farms Championship (2019)
PGA TOUR earnings: $394,223
Notes: Birdied the final two holes in regulation, and all three in playoff to get through … Has battled Crohn's disease, and receives injections every eight weeks to help with symptoms of the disease … In his pro debut finished T20 at the US Open in 2018 … Has made 19 career Korn Ferry Tour starts … Won the 2016 Western Am over Sam Horsfield, who is currently ranked 103rd in OWGR.
Q&A with Dalton Ward
PGATOUR.com talked with Dalton Ward after Monday-qualifying for the Puerto Rico Open.
PGATOUR.COM: You went to a community college, which isn't a traditional path to a career in golf. How did you choose Tri-Tech?
Dalton Ward: I played a lot of junior golf and I thought I was pretty good, but I didn't take golf very seriously. I tried to get the attention of other schools but ended up walking on at Tri-Tech Community College. I lived in Clemson at the time, and a lot of kids do a year at Tri-Tech and then transfer over. I just walked on to the golf team. We had a couple guys from Europe and a couple guys from Florida and I struggled to make the team that first year. That second year we were pretty good for a juco team. It was very laid back, you kind of practiced when you wanted to. That second year, though, I got a lot better and that is when I decided that is what I wanted to do.
PGATOUR.COM: Did you consider going on to another school or was the route always to turn pro?
Ward: I wrote a bunch of letters to other schools, but no one really wanted me. So, I started playing in some amateur stuff, like the North Carolina Am and did OK. After that, I turned pro, but really didn't know what it was like.
PGATOUR.COM: Was there anything that really helped you turn the corner in your career?
Ward: I would just play in a money game at a course, but all the guys were like 50 years old. I would play a few Monday qualifiers and stuff like that but even though I said I was a pro, I really wasn't. But in 2017 I was getting lessons from a guy in Sea Island, and I met some other guys up there. I decided that is where I wanted to be, so I moved up there and really started to get after it. I learned what it was like to be a professional golfer. That is when my game really started to get better.
PGATOUR.COM: Do you play with a chip on your shoulder coming from such a non-traditional college program?
Ward: I'm just kinda used to it. Two of my best friends are Greyson Sigg and Joey Garber. They were always good, junior, high school, college. They have just been good their whole lives; playing with those guys every week has just made me a lot better. I would have loved to go to a big school and had all the free stuff, but I didn't, and I still think I belong out there. Patton Kizzire has helped me so much, and we play and practice together a ton. I don't feel like they are better than I am, I just think they took a different route than I did.
PGATOUR.COM: I think I know the answer, but do you feel like you belong out on TOUR?
Ward: I do, 100%. I feel like my game is as good or better than some of those guys out there. I wake up every morning working towards getting to the PGA TOUR.
Notable misses: Adam Svensson (66), Andy Pope (67), Nick Hardy (67), Alex Smalley (68), Rick Lamb (69), Joey Garber (70)
PGA National-Estates. Par 71, 6,668 yards, 73.1 rating, 134 slope
2020-2021 SEASON MONDAY QUALIFIER STATS
Average Medalist score: 64.1
Average last qualifying spot score: 66.3
Total number of cuts made: 15 of 42 (35.7%)
Most recent results (Waste Management Phoenix Open): Nick Hardy T42, Vincent Whaley MC, Mark Anguiano MC
Money earned: $492,326
Best Finish: MJ Daffue, T12 Sanderson Farms
NEXT MONDAY QUALIFIER
March 8th: Puntacana Resort and Club Championship, The Preserve at Ironhorse.
March 15th: Honda Classic, Banyan Cay Resort and Golf
NOTES FROM OTHER TOURS:
Albin Choi, former caddie for Sungjae Im, finished T14 at the LECOM Suncoast Classic after Monday qualifying.
Click here for the link to the full schedule.
The first of seven PGA TOUR CANADA-Mackenzie Tour Q-school sites starts today. Click Here for the full schedule.