Monday qualifiers: Travelers Championship
8 Min Read
Written by Ryan French @acaseofthegolf1
Here is a look at the two players who Monday qualified for the Travelers Championship. The qualifier was held at Ellington Ridge Country Club in Ellington, Connecticut. There was a five-for-two playoff for the two spots. There are just two spots available at each Monday Qualifier following the resumption of the 2019-20 PGA TOUR season after the COVID-19 break.
David Pastore (67)
College: University of Virginia
Turned pro: 2014
PGA TOUR starts: 3
PGA TOUR earnings: $0
Notes: This will be his fourth PGA Tour start. In 2019 he Monday Qualified for both the Farmers Insurance Open and The Honda Classic … In that Honda Classic Monday Qualifier, he missed a very short putt on the first playoff hole for eagle to win but managed to come back and get through … He played in the 2015 Travelers Championship … He is a 2020 Korn Ferry Tour member but hasn’t made any starts yet this year after finishing T126 at final stage … Has played three career Korn Ferry Tour events, the last in 2019 at the LECOM Health Challenge … Finished seventh on the Mackenzie Tour - Canada Order of Merit in 2019 … He finished the year with one runner-up, one third place finish, among four total top 10s … After his freshman year at University of Virginia, he had to re-earn his spot back on the team through an open tryout … His senior year he injured his hand and only played two events
Chase Koepka (67)
College: University of South Florida
Turned pro: 2016
PGA TOUR starts: 5
PGA TOUR earnings: $197,400
Notes: This will be his third PGA TOUR start of 2020 … He finished 46th at THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES and finished 67th at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open … His career-best finish on the PGA TOUR is a fifth-place finish at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans where he teamed with his brother Brooks … Is a 2020 Korn Ferry Tour member after making it to final stage and finished T68 … Koepka has played in one 2020 Korn Ferry event, The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, where he missed the cut … In 2019 was a Challenge Tour member in Europe … Made two of 12 cuts that year … 2017 was his best year on the Challenge Tour as he made 14 of 18 cuts and finished eight on the Order of Merit … Was a European Tour member in 2018 … That season he made 11 of 28 cuts, with a best finish of seventh in South African Open … In January, he had a 20-foot putt on the last hole to shoot 59 on the Minor League Tour. He shot 64 the second day and won the event. It was his 11th win on the Minor League Tour.
A quick chat with Chase Koepka after Monday qualifying at the Travelers Championship:
PGATOUR.COM: Last year you decided to come home after playing in Europe for a few years. Did you think it was time for a change, or was the distance from your family an issue?
CHASE KOEPKA: “It was a little bit of both. I was definitely a little bit homesick from playing over there for a few years, and it doesn’t help that I wasn’t playing my best golf over there last year. And that makes the homesick worse playing poorly that far away from my family. Just looking at my career though, I have never really been able to do Korn Ferry Q school up until this year, so I told myself I’d concentrate on that. I wanted to get ready for finals. It didn’t work out exactly how I wanted at finals, but I still have some status.”
PGATOUR.COM: Do you have a number in mind once you play a practice round and get a feel for the course, or do you try not to think of a number instead just go as low as possible?
KOEPKA: “At some courses you know, it’s going to take 8 or 9 under, but at this course coming in, I actually had no idea what to expect. I heard some guys discussing 67 that got into a playoff in years past, but that was with four spots. So, I really didn’t know what to expect with two spots. I thought 6 or 7 [under} would be a good round today. I was a little bit shocked when I came in that I was tied for the lead at 5 under. I thought it would be a little short.”
PGATOUR.COM: With limited Korn Ferry Tour status, are you going to chase Mondays or play some mini-tour events?
KOEPKA: “I will try to mix in some Mondays with some mini-tour events in between. You cannot do Monda’s 24/7 and expect to get better. One good thing that has come out of all this, is there is a lot of new mini-tours popping up and giving guys like me a place to play. I mean if you don’t have full status on Korn Ferry or PGA Tours, you are basically a mini-tour player, so I’m just glad there is places to play.”
PGATOUR.COM: There are a lot more downs in this game then ups. Does successfully Monday qualifying like this give you a huge mental boost?
KOEPKA: “Oh yeah definitely, if you get through one Monday qualifier a year, you are doing really well. When you do, it’s all about capitalizing on your opportunity. You see stories every year, there is maybe three or four guys that turn one Monday qualifier into status or a place in the Korn Ferry finals. Every single year. It’s awesome that we have those in this game, a way to play yourself into these events. It was a bit shocking that they even are having Monday qualifiers again, and so when they announced that they would, it gave everyone a little hope.”
PGATOUR.COM: We saw Brooks was at the course watching you come up 18 and you sat down together between the round and playoff. What advice did he give you?
KOEPKA: “When I got done, we talked and basically just told me, ‘Awesome job’ and asked me what holes we were playing for the playoff. I went and asked and once I told him he told me to get out to the range and practice those shots to be ready.”
PGATOUR.COM: You have dealt with a lot of different types of pressure in your career. Where does a Monday qualifier playoff pressure fall?
KOEPKA: “It was like I was trying to win a big-time golf tournament. It was a lot of pressure for sure. You are either in with a huge opportunity for your career or you are going home. I try to look back on putts that I have made in my career and use that. It’s just human nature to look ahead and think about getting into event and what could happen, but you really have to try your best to block that our and stay in the moment.”
PGATOUR.COM: Now that you are in the field, do you set hard goals, such as a top 10 or just measure how you play and let the chips fall where they may?
KOEPKA: “It’s pretty much play as well as I can and see where the chips fall. Play well and see where we stand on Sunday. I can’t look too far ahead. I am going to try get as many FedExCup points as I can. If I can finish in the top 10 and get into the next week, that would be a huge bonus. All I wanted to do this year is play as many tournaments as I can and just get better. This week’s event just happens to be a TOUR event and is a huge opportunity for me.”
NOTABLE MISSES: Vincent Whaley 68, Chase Seiffert 68, Cliff Kresge 69, Spencer Levin 71, Ken Duke 72
STRENGTH OF TRAVELERS CHAMPIONSHIP MONDAY QUALIFIER:
Combined number of PGA TOUR starts: More than 2,130
Number of players with at least one PGA TOUR win: 2 (Ken Duke 1, Carlos Franco 4)
Combined number of PGA TOUR wins: 5
Combined PGA TOUR earnings: More than $62 million
Combined Korn Ferry Tour wins: 11
Player with most PGA TOUR wins in the field: Carlos Franco 4
Name of course: Ellington Ridge Country Club, 6928 yds, 74.2 rating, 136 slope
2019-2020 SEASON MONDAY QUALIFIER STATS
Average Medalist score: 65.4
Average last qualifying spot score: 66.7
Total number of cuts made: 10 of 47 (21.3%)
Most recent results (Honda Classic): Hayden Buckley 69th, Arjun Atwal MC, Andrew McCain MC, Daniel Wetterich MC
Money earned: $325,518
Best Finish: Garrett Osborn, T18, Sanderson Farms
NEXT MONDAY QUALIFIER
June 29: Rocket Mortgage Monday Qualifier, Oakland University Katke Course
July 6: Workday Open Monday Qualifier, Country Club of Murfield Village
NOTES FROM OTHER TOURS
Ryan McCormick finished T14 at the Korn Ferry Classic at TPC Sawgrass after Monday Qualifying, then finished T6 at the King and Bear Classic.
Paul Peterson finished T16 at the Korn Ferry King and Bear Classic after Monday Qualifying, earning a spot in the Utah Championship presented by Zion’s bank.