Season in review: 2012 Tour highlights

November 28, 2012 Tour staff

There were a great deal of exciting tournaments, performances and individual golf shots that took place on the Tour in 2012, as well as important developments off the golf course. The following captures many of them.

* entered into a 10-year agreement (through 2021) to become umbrella sponsor of the Tour on June 27th.

* On July 10th it was announced that all 50 available PGA TOUR cards would come through the Tour, beginning in 2013, establishing the Tour as the path to the PGA TOUR.

* Three of golf's four majors were won by Tour alumni (Masters/Bubba Watson, U.S. Open/Webb Simpson and Open/Ernie Els), plus THE PLAYERS (Matt Kuchar).

* Tour alumni won 25 titles on the PGA TOUR in 2012 and finished the year with a total of 345 alumni wins.

* Two 2011 Tour graduates won 2012 PGA TOUR events as rookies -- Ted Potter, Jr. and Jonas Blixt.

* The Tour added two new events in 2012, the Chile Classic in Santiago, Chile (won by Paul Haley II) and the United Leasing Championship at Victoria National Golf Club in Evansville, Indiana (Peter Tomasulo).

* Bill Clinton became the first sitting or former President of the United States to attend a Tour event when he traveled to Bogota in February to participate in the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship Pro-Am and Pro-Am Gala, which was held in support of the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative.

* Eight of the top-10 graduates from the Class of 2012 will be first-time members of the PGA TOUR in 2013, and 15 in all.

* Six players had no status at all to start the year but earned it through performance during the season -- Ben Kohles, Luke Guthrie, Kevin Foley, Patrick Cantlay, Morgan Hoffmann and Scott Harrington. Three of the six -- Kohles, Guthrie and Hoffmann -- earned their 2013 PGA TOUR cards via "The 25".

* Six graduates were born outside the United States -- James Hahn (South Korea), David Lingmerth (Sweden), Cameron Percy (Australia), Scott Gardiner (Australia), Brad Fritsch (Canada) and Alistair Presnell (Australia).

* Four players born outside the United States won tournaments in 2012 -- Alex Aragon (Mexico), Nick Flanagan (Australia), James Hahn (South Korea) and David Lingmerth (Sweden).

* Five players won two times each -- Casey Wittenberg, Kohles, Guthrie, Shawn Stefani and Russell Henley.

* Rookies accounted for 11 wins during the 2012 season -- including two each by Kohles, Guthrie, Stefani and Henley.

* There were 15 first-time winners on Tour in 2012.

* Players in their 20s accounted for 16 wins in 27 tournaments.

* Kohles was the youngest winner on Tour -- 22 years, 5 months and 5 days -- when he won the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational.

* Kohles (2/24/90) and Guthrie (1/30/90) were the youngest members of the Class of 2012, at age 22. They were followed by Henley and Hoffmann, both 23. Twelve graduates are under 30, with three more age 30. The eldest member of the Class was Darron Stiles, 39.

* Six different players held the top spot on the money list during the course of the year, with Wittenberg ascending to No. 1 three different times and leading for a season-high total of nine weeks, including at season's end.

* Four players competed in all 27 events -- Cliff Kresge, Alex Aragon, Aaron Goldberg and Tim Wilkinson.

* Three players who began the final week of 2012 outside the top 25 on the money list at the Tour Championship at TPC Craig Ranch left Dallas with a PGA TOUR card in hand -- Justin Bolli (44th to 9th), Hoffmann (31st to 19th) and Doug LaBelle II (26th to 24th). The week's casualties were Camilo Benedetti (25th to 26th), Hudson Swafford (23rd to 27th) and Joseph Bramlett (24th to 28th). A Hahn birdie on the 72nd hole allowed Jim Herman to secure the 25th and final card at the expense of Adam Hadwin, who dropped from 25th to 30th as a result.

* Dawie van der Walt recorded the low round of the year -- an 11-under-par 60 on the final day of the Cox Classic and finished solo second in Omaha.

* Wittenberg matched the fourth-largest victory margin in Tour history with his 8-stroke win at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open.

* Edward Loar overcame a triple-bogey in the final round to win the Panama Claro Championship. Loar also became the sixth left-hander in Tour history to win a tournament.

* Eight players shared the first-round lead at the Chiquita Classsic, matching the Tour's all-time record.

* Andy Bare and Adam Long each recorded two holes-in-one during the year. All totaled, there were 27 aces in 2012.

* Scott Parel made the most cuts of any player on Tour in 2012 -- 20 in 26 starts. He finished 35th on the money list.

* Rob Oppenheim became the fourth player in Tour history to register a hole-in-one on a par-4. Oppenheim aced the 330-yard 14th hole during the final round of the Tour Championship at TPC Craig Ranch.

* Flanagan ran off seven birdies in a row during the second round of the Mylan Classic near Pittsburgh. It was the second time in his career he had made seven in a row.

* Skip Kendall rolled in a 25-foot birdie on the final hole to win the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship. Kendall, 47, was the oldest winner on Tour in 2012.

* Andres Gonzales became the first wire-to-wire winner on Tour since Colt Knost in 2008 when he led from start to finish at the Soboba Golf Classic. Gonzales' win ended the longest stretch in Tour history without a wire-to-wire win (101 tournaments).

* Aragon had a wild week in northern California during the TPC Stonebrae Championship. He locked his keys in the trunk Thursday morning before his round but managed to make it to the course for his tee time, which was delayed by a two-hour fog delay. He also had his wallet stolen on Friday at a local gas station. He got all 18 holes in on Thursday but hit only a tee shot off No. 1 on Friday. He played 33 holes on Saturday and 21 on Sunday. Despite all, he managed to win his first career title on Sunday.

* Hudson Swafford recorded the shot of the year when he holed out a bunker shot on the 72nd hole for a course-record, 9-under 62 in the final round of the Stadion Classic at UGA. Swafford, now a UGA grad, went on to win his first career title, despite finishing nearly 90 minutes in front of the third-round leaders.

* With the Tour making its first appearance in the South American country, rookie Paul Haley II cruised to three-shot victory in the Chile Classic in Santiago. In only his third start after a stellar collegiate career at Georgia Tech, Haley held a six-stroke lead after 54 holes.

* Flanagan (BWM Charity Pro-Am) and Darron Stiles (News Sentinel Open) both won the same tournament for the second time in their careers.

* Flanagan birdied the 72nd hole of the BMW Charity Pro-Am to get into a playoff after he airmailed the 18th green and hit a greenside cameraman, which caused his ball to carom onto the green, nearly hitting the flagstick. He calmly rolled in the 15-footer, then dispatched fellow Aussie Cameron Percy on the third extra hole.

* Chris Wilson and Scott Harrington, both Northwestern University grads, battled it out in a playoff at the Price Cutter Charity Championship, won by Wilson on the first extra hole.

* Virginia grad Kohles became the first player in Tour history to win in his professional debut when he captured the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational in a playoff over fellow rookie Luke Guthrie.

* Kohles followed up his win in Columbus, Ohio with another win the following week at the Cox Classic in Omaha. Kohles fired a 62 on the final day to overtake Luke Guthrie and become the first player to start his professional career with two wins in his first two weeks.

* Guthrie won back-to-back events at the Albertsons Boise Open and the WNB Golf Classic to lock up a PGA TOUR card. Guthrie balanced golf with finishing 13 credits during the fall semester at the University of Illinois to get his degree.

* Hahn captured his first Tour title in a playoff at the Rex Hospital Open over Scott Parel, then flew overnight to his home in the San Francisco Bay area to attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open the next day, which he succeeded in doing, capturing medalist honors.

Final stat leaders include:
Driving Distance Luke List* 324.0
Driving Accuracy % Craig Bowden 76.24
Greens in Regulation % Justin Hicks* 75.27
Greens in Regulation % From Fairway Alex Aragon 84.86
Putting Average Luke Guthrie* 1.674
Total Eagles Chris DeForest 17
Total Birdies Robert Streb* 356
Scoring Average (actual) Luke Guthrie* 68.33
Sand Save % Matt Harmon 61.67
Total Driving Nicholas Thompson* 36
All-Around Ranking Luke Guthrie* 167
Leading Money Winner Casey Wittenberg* $433,453
Final Round Scoring Ave. Luke Guthrie* 67.63
Top-10 Finishes Justin Hicks* 10 (25 starts)
Scrambling Darron Stiles* 64.91
Longest Drive Luke List* 405
*Indicates 2012 Tour graduate.

* The third event of the year was played in Santiago, Chile. It became the fourth southernmost city the Tour has played in. Santiago's latitude is 33 degrees south, while Melbourne, Australia is 37 degrees south, Christchurch, New Zealand is 43 degrees south and Queenstown, New Zealand is 45 degrees south.