By Michael Curet, PGATOUR.COM Contributor
Paul Norris, a 49-year-old Texan who once shagged balls for Ben Hogan, tapped in a putt late Monday in a five-way playoff to earn the final spot in this week’s Valero Texas Open -- his first-ever PGA TOUR event.
Also winning a spot through the playoff was PGA TOUR veteran Frank Lickliter. William Osborne, a 26-year-old Fort Worth, Texas native, fired a 6-under 66 to win medalist honors, while former Texas A&M golfer Casey Devoll shot 67 to secure his place in the field.
Both Norris and Lickliter putted for eagle on the first playoff hole after shooting 69 in the qualifier. Lickliter eventually made a 4-footer for birdie, while Norris missed his 20-footer for a 3 and left himself a foot for birdie. Eliminated were Frank Corpening, Robby Ormand and Gabe Reynolds.
Norris arguably faced tougher odds to find his way into the PGA TOUR field than the other three competitors, who either had youth or experience on their sides. A collegiate golfer at Texas Wesleyan, Norris has played in nine Nationwide Tour events, but none since the 2004 Permian Basin Charity Golf Classic. Aside from playing some regional tours, he has spent most of his time teaching golf and currently works at the Golden Bear Golf Center in Fort Worth. .
Lickliter is no stranger to the Monday qualifier, having played in four this year. The two-time winner on the PGA TOUR (2001 Kemper Insurance Open and 2003 Chrysler Classic of Tucson) has two top-10s in the Valero Texas Open, although the tournament was held at a different venue.
Osborne and Devoll will also be making their first TOUR starts in Thursday’s opening round. Devoll, a 34-year-old Arlington, Texas native, has played six events on the Nationwide Tour with a career-best tie for 35th at the 2005 Permian Basin Charity Golf Classic.
The Monday qualifier was held 65 miles north of San Antonio at The Club at Comanche Trace in Kerrville, Texas.