Notes: LSU roommates Peterson, Loupe both stamp tickets to PGA TOUR
September 29, 2013
By Michael Curet, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Web.com Tour Championship runner-up John Peterson went straight from the scorer's tent after finishing his round to watch his friend and college roommate Andrew Loupe finish on No. 18. With Loupe's status an uncertainty, Peterson, along with his parents, and Loupe's family members watched anxiously as he pushed a birdie putt four feet past the hole.
When Loupe's par putt from four-feet dropped in, there were hugs and tears from both players -- still not certain he had done enough.
"I was extremely nervous for him," said Peterson. "He's always been strong mentally. He was like that in college and I just knew he would make that par putt coming back."
As the final two groups came in behind Loupe, he got the good news and the celebration began.
"We've been there for each other since we were 10 or 11," said Peterson. "He used to beat the crap out of me until I was about 15. It's means a lot to both of us but it means a lot to LSU too. We've had David Toms forever. He set the bar pretty high. We've brought the program back to top 10 by the time we graduated, so to get in together is huge."
Loupe acknowledged what Peterson's friendship means to him. "That guy is like a brother to me," he said. "I lived with him for three years. He's a great dude. I'm always pulling for him and he's always pulling for me. I'm just very happy."
NEW MIND-SET: The sun was so blinding Sunday on No. 9, Brad Fritsch needed the Golf Channel cameraman in the tower to confirm whether or not a ball went into the water. After learning the ball was wet and taking his drop, an uneasy Fritsch rolled his chip six feet past the hole and missed the putt coming back for a double-bogey.
The setback, following a front side that featured five birdies could have been disastrous for Fritsch, but he birdied the next three holes on his way to a second-place finish which locked up a return trip to the PGA TOUR for the coming season.
"My mental game is probably the weakest part of my game," admitted Fritsch. "I tried to take a different mind-set this week and ask myself 'What would the winner do on every shot. How would he play it and what would he be thinking?' That really helped this week."
The Canadian made nine birdies on the day to go along with three bogeys and the lone double-bogey. "When I started making all those birdies on the back," said Fritsch, "I figured let's chase down Chesson and try to win the golf tournament. I feel like I did a good job out there."
This is way more nerve-wracking than q-school. I started with conditional status, so I knew I couldn't lose it. I had good vibe on the golf course last year too so that helped. This is very much a PGA TOUR golf course."
CONSIDERING HIS OPTIONS: A 2-under round of 68 to finish 5-under Sunday fell just a little short for former PGA TOUR member Tim Petrovic.
The 47-year-old Petrovic, who won the 2005 Zurich Classic of New Orleans, said he now has to think about what he is going to do for the first time in 14 years.
"It's not the end of the world at all," said Petrovic, who plans on spending some more time with his children who are 14 and 12, while hoping to play some events on both the Web.com Tour and PGA TOUR. "If I was 23, I would think it was the end of the world if I didn't get in, but I only have three more years before the Champions Tour."
Petrovic also said he may play some Monday qualifying events. "I did quite a few of those last year," he said. "Monday's are tough. There are only four spots, but I'm playing well so we'll see."
LOW ROUND: Brendan Todd, who had already secured his card entering this week, had the low round of the day -- a 5-under 65 which vaulted him to a tied for second finish at 8-under and two shots behind eventual winner Chesson Hadley
"I just wanted to play as well as I could.," said Todd. "It was sort of an odd feeling for me before the round just seeing the guys on the range under pressure and for me not feeling any. That was a different. The only time I felt something was maybe on the last hole knowing I had a great round and that if I would have made one more birdie, it might have really been good."
FAIR TEST: Even though Danny Lee, who entered the week secure for his return to the PGA TOUR based on his regular season finish inside the top 25 on the Web.com Tour, likes the format of The Finals. The New Zealander who played his PGA TOUR rookie season in 2012, said, "There are a lot more opportunities, and I think it's very fair. I really enjoyed it, but I had a lot less pressure."
LOOKING FORWARD: Jhonattan Vegas, who will be playing on a medical exemption this coming season on the PGA TOUR, felt encouraged about the week. "A lot of good things happened for me this week," he said. "I just got very tired for some reason today and it showed -- especially on the back nine. Vegas, recovering from shoulder surgery, shot 7-over on the back nine and 4-over for the day to knock him out of contention."
"I move on from this," Vegas said. "I am preparing myself for a couple of months on TOUR."
AT HOME: Scotsman Russell Knox, who played golf at Jacksonville University and makes his home in Jacksonville Beach, likes the home-field advantage that helped him Sunday to regain his PGA TOUR card.
"It's great to do it front of my friends and family," said Knox. "There will be a good celebration tonight. It's means everything to me because the difference from being on the PGA TOUR instead of the Web.com Tour is enormous. You want to play against the best players every week."
PUTT OF THE DAY: Lee Williams locked up his PGA TOUR card on No. 18 by sinking a 50-foot putt. The first person to congratulate him with a high-five was playing partner Andres Gonzales, who, like Williams, shot 6-under for the tournament to tie for eighth place. However, Gonzales needed another birdie or two on the day and missed regaining his PGA TOUR card.
"He's one of the most liked players out here," said Williams and he helps your nerves stay calm because he's such a funny guy. Playing with him today was blessing. I know he'll be back on TOUR."
As for the dramatic finish for Williams, he said, "I couldn't have imagined that my year would come down to a 50-footer on the last hole on the last day."
Williams also won a bet with his caddie Russ Bethel that if he regained his PGA TOUR card, Bethel had to lose 40 pounds. Bethel, who said he started the diet three weeks ago to remain positive about the card, said he's already lost nine pounds.