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Charity auction and TOUR top-10: Inside Evan Harmeling's wild last month

3 Min Read



2020 Club Car Championship winner returns to Korn Ferry Tour at familiar venue

    Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin

    SAVANNAH, Ga. – Princeton alum Evan Harmeling waited 12 years a pro for his first PGA TOUR start, and he seized the moment with a T10 at last month’s Puerto Rico Open. That earned him a spot at the Valspar Championship, where he missed the cut by one stroke but gained valuable experience in the process.

    After a TOUR two-step, Harmeling will return to the Korn Ferry Tour for this week’s Club Car Championship at The Landings Golf & Athletic Club, which he won in 2020, as he now seeks his first TOUR card by more conventional means – the top 30 on the Korn Ferry Tour season-long standings.

    Some might have stayed idle in between. Not Harmeling, who raised more than $46,000 that will benefit education in Savannah, via an auction offering tee times at notable clubs across the United States.

    Last fall, Harmeling and his wife Ariel launched the Evan and Ariel Harmeling Foundation, aiming to increase educational opportunities for kids who wouldn’t otherwise have them.

    One such beneficiary: the Savannah Legacy Academy, of which Harmeling became aware via Tim O’Neal, a PGA TOUR Champions player who hails from Savannah. The two were paired together for the first two rounds at the 2020 Club Car Championship, which Harmeling proceeded to win for his first Korn Ferry Tour title.

    The auction, conducted last month through “Member for a Day,” offered tee times at esteemed clubs including 2022 U.S. Open host venue The Country Club in Massachusetts, Whippoorwill Club in New York, the Country Club of Vermont, and even rounds with Harmeling at The Landings Golf & Athletic Club and Atlantic Beach Country Club.

    “I always feel weird about asking people, especially for things like that, but I can call up my buddies and say, ‘Hey, will you host a round of golf at your course? And people will bid on playing with you,’ and then people that give money, get a round at a really nice course, so it’s not like you’re just taking their money either,” Harmeling said Wednesday in Savannah.

    “It’s a cool thing, and I was really happy with how it went. I want to do another fundraiser, Member for a Day; I’m sure we will. So it was cool.”

    Evan Harmeling launches foundation to support inner-city education

    Harmeling won the 2020 Club Car Championship (played in October that year) in a playoff over Kevin Dougherty. He has made 77 Korn Ferry Tour starts, in addition to 69 starts on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica (with a victory at the 2019 BMW Jamaica Classic), but he had yet to make a TOUR start until this year’s Puerto Rico Open. Not only did he earn a spot as a Monday qualifier, his birdie-birdie finish was just enough for a top-10 (after waiting anxiously for the final groups to come in) that earned him another TOUR start. He missed the cut by one stroke at the Valspar, but the experience proved what he has believed all along – that he has the game to compete at the highest level.

    “To feel the pressure and see that I can execute in those situations, that’s what it’s all about and it’s so much fun,” Harmeling told Golf Channel this week. “Knowing that I’m good at the game, and just loving to compete, I love the game of golf and I love being in the heat of the moment.”

    Harmeling has made two of three Korn Ferry Tour cuts this season, and he stands No. 108 on the season-long standings into the Club Car Championship. Plenty of season remains to improve his position and finish inside the top 30, but he wouldn’t mind kick-starting those efforts this week at a familiar, and comforting, venue.

    “I want to get on the main TOUR, stat,” Harmeling told Golf Channel. “I want to win one of these and work toward locking up my card. I’ve definitely felt a little bit impatience, as I do often, and that’s going to be a challenge to stay in the moment, stay shot-by-shot this week … this is the first Korn Ferry Tour tournament since those couple weeks on TOUR.

    “It’s definitely great for my confidence, but a little humility is probably good as well.”

    Walk-and-talk with Evan Harmeling after qualifying for Valspar

    Kevin Prise is an associate editor for the PGA TOUR. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.

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