Fall Series spots on the line for Wittenberg, KohlesCasey Wittenberg has sat on two victories for most of the summer on the Web.com Tour.September 25, 2012
Web.com Tour staff
With Luke Guthrie's win on Sunday at the WNB Golf Classic in Midland, Texas, he joins Casey Wittenberg and Ben Kohles in sitting on two wins. A third would mean a promotion to the PGA TOUR and exempt status on TOUR next year. Wittenberg and Kohles are entered in this week's Chiquita Classic. There are four domestic events remaining in 2012 they would be eligible for should they win on Sunday -- next week's PGA TOUR event in Las Vegas, which is followed by stops in San Martin, Calif., Sea Island, Ga. and Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
CONGRATULATIONS, BRANDT -- Brandt Snedeker took care of business in a big way over the weekend, winning both the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola ($1.44 million) and the FedExCup ($10 million). In so doing, the Tennessee native became the third Web.com Tour alumnus in a row to win the FedExCup, following in the footsteps of Jim Furyk (2010) and Bill Haas (2011). Snedeker won twice on the Web.com Tour in 2006 and finished ninth on the money list to secure his PGA TOUR card, and has not looked back.
RYDER CUP ROOKIES -- The U.S. Ryder Cup team of 12 features four Cup rookies -- Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker. All four formerly played on the Web.com Tour. A total of nine U.S. team members are Tour alums.
SHAKE UP AT THE TOP -- A scorching stretch in late July, August and September have catapulted Luke Guthrie all the way to No. 1 on the Web.com Tour money list in just seven starts. The University of Illinois product supplanted Casey Wittenberg from the top spot with his win on Sunday. A T14 in Midland by Luke List squeezed him past Wittenberg, who was idle last week, by a mere $526.
TOUR MAKES CHARLOTTE DEBUT / FINALS COMING IN 2013 -- In its 23-year history, no Web.com Tour event had ever been held in Charlotte. The city's familiarity with the Tour will change dramatically over the next 12 months as a result of several developments. Last December, Chiquita Brands relocated its global headquarters from Cincinnati to Charlotte. Shortly thereafter it was announced that the Chiquita Classic would make a similar move, with the Club at Longview inWeddington hosting the 2012 tournament. Then, on Sept. 18th, the PGA TOUR announced Charlotte and the Chiquita Classic as one of four host venues for the newly-created Web.com Tour Finals, which will identify and finalize the 50 players who earn 2013-14 PGA TOUR playing privileges, beginning in 2013.
"THE KING" IS HONORARY CHAIRMAN -- Seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Richard Petty has joined forces with the Chiquita Classic, serving as its honorary chairman. Petty will be active during tournament week, attending select functions (on and off site) and mingling with sponsors, players and fans at the Club at Longview near Charlotte. The Petty Family Foundation will receive a portion of tournament proceeds.
BUSINESS AND PLEASURE -- Luke Guthrie will not be in Charlotte this week to pursue a third straight win. A more pressing matter is at hand. He will be in Champaign, Ill. to attend class at the University of Illinois, where he is finishing up the 13 credits he needs to complete a business degree. "I missed my flight home, so it looks like I'll miss class again tomorrow," he said on Sunday after his win. "I'm going to meet with the teacher and catch up on my homework."
Once he handles his classroom duties, the Quincy, Ill. native will drive to Chicago on the weekend to watch the Ryder Cup. With $667,108 in earnings in 10 combined PGA TOUR (three) and Web.com Tour (seven) starts, perhaps an accounting course is in order. Guthrie has a remarkable seven top 10s and nine top 20s in those 10 events.
MORGAN HOFFMANN EARNS STATUS -- Former Oklahoma State All-American Morgan Hoffmann finished sixth in the WNB Golf Classic, which gave him enough 2012 earnings to become a Special Temporary Member. While it is late in the season to receive significant benefit from STM, he did earn a spot in Charlotte this week based on last week's top-25 finish and will be eligible for the final reshuffle after the Miccosukee Championship in mid-October. The New Jersey native is currently 78th on the money list. A spot in the 60-man Web.com Tour Championship at TPC Craig Ranch is clearly within reach.
WILL THIS BE SCOTT GARDINER'S YEAR? -- Aussie Scott Gardiner has played in 195 Web.com Tour events dating back to 2003, but not one on the PGA TOUR. Currently 12th on the money list, that may change in 2013. Gardiner is quietly cruising along to his best Web.com Tour season yet, compiling some very impressive stats. The 36-year-old is first in the all-around, first in birdie average, third in ball striking, sixth in scoring, ninth in putting average and tied for 10th in greens hit. Gardiner came tantalizingly close in 2009 and 2010, ending up 26th and 30th on the money list, respectively.
DID YOU KNOW? -- 1) Luke Guthrie becomes the 13th player in Web.com Tour history to register consecutive wins and the eighth to do it in back-to-back starts. Ben Kohles also won back-to-back titles earlier this summer. The last to win in consecutive starts were Daniel Chopra and Charles Warren in 2004 (but not in back-to-back starts). 2. Danny Lee came up one shot shy in his attempt to become the first player in Web.com Tour history to successfully defend a title. You would think it would have happened at least once in the Tour's first 23 years. 3. Ben Kohles and Luke Guthrie, both 22, have won four of the last eight Web.com Tour events. Combined, they have just 13 starts.
BIRTHDAY BOY -- Celebrating birthdays at the Chiquita Classic this week are Adam Long (Sept. 25/ turns 25) and Will MacKenzie (Sept. 28/turns 38).
NEXT WEEK -- It's on to TPC Potomac in Maryland for the Neediest Kids Championship (Oct. 4-7).