By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Michael Putnam is happy to be back on the golf course so quickly. This isn't exactly an ideal time of year for a PGA TOUR player to spend a lot of time in the Pacific Northwest. Putnam, who lives in Washington state, shot 4-under 67 on Thursday at the Frys.com Open
There was only one off week between the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship and the Frys.com Open, the first event of the 2013-14 PGA TOUR season. Putnam won the Web.com Tour's Regular Season money title to regain his PGA TOUR playing privileges.
“Typcially you have two months off when you get your TOUR card (through the Web.com Tour), and for me that’s probably not too good because I live up in Washington and I take time off and then I’m trying to find (my game) at Sony or (the Humana),” Putnam said. “Now we get to go straight into the year.”
Putnam won his two Web.com Tour titles of 2013 in consecutive weeks in May. He had eight top-10s in 19 starts in the Regular Season to win the money title, which also earned him a spot in the 2014 THE PLAYERS Championship.
“I’m 30 now. I’m older, wiser, more calm. Life has sort of settled down. I have two kids,” Putnam said, when asked what has changed since his last full PGA TOUR season in 2011. “I proved myself on the Web.com Tour. I played a lot of good tournaments and I felt like my game could easily translate on the PG ATOUR with the year I had.”
Putnam played Thursday alongside fellow Web.com Tour grads John Peterson and Chesson Hadley. Peterson was the leading money winner in the Web.com Tour Finals, while Hadley won the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship and earned the most combined money in the Regular Season and Finals.
Peterson, who finished in the top five in his final five events of the 2013 Web.com Tour season, shot 68 on Thursday despite bogeys on his final two holes. He bogeyed his final hole, the reachable par-5 ninth, after hitting his second shot in the water. Hadley shot 72. Both Peterson and Hadley are making their debuts as PGA TOUR members.
Jim Herman matched Putnam for low Web.com Tour graduate on Thursday, shooting 4-under 67.
Two of the Web.com Tour's top players, Michael Putnam (left) and John Peterson, engaged in a closest-to-the-pin contest on the island-green par-3 at the World Golf Hall of Fame. There was a unique twist, though. They had to skip their shots across the water. See who came out on top.
The Web.com Tour Finals begin Thursday with the Hotel Fitness Championship at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind. Fifty cards will be finalized over the four-event Finals, with the all-important positioning on the PGA TOUR’s eligibility list also being determined.
Cards have been locked up by the 25 leading money winners from the Web.com Tour’s Regular Season. An additional 25 cards will be determined at the Finals based on earnings in the four events.
Those 50 players will be ranked in the PGA TOUR’s eligibility list for the 2013-14 season based on their earnings at the Web.com Tour Finals. Players in this category get into events on a space-available basis, so a higher ranking means more starts.
Here’s everything you need to know on the eve of the first-ever Web.com Tour Finals event.