KORN FERRY TOUR INSIDER
2019 Web.com Tour: 11 events, 11 different winners
Takeaways from the first portion of our 30th season
May 15, 2019
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Alabama alum Robby Shelton stands No. 2 on The 25 and has already secured his first PGA TOUR card. (Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
It’s hard to believe, but the 2019 Web.com Tour Regular Season has already reached its halfway point, as this week’s Knoxville Open marks the 12th of 24 events prior to the three-event Web.com Tour Finals.
In 11 events, we have seen 11 different tournament winners. A mix of veterans and early-career players hold spots in The 25, and the season-long Web.com Tour Points race is heating up.
As the busy summer stretch on the Web.com Tour begins to heat up – starting this week in Knoxville, Tennessee – here are four takeaways from the first half of the season.
The average age of winners on the Web.com Tour this year is 29, and all of them have played prior Web.com Tour seasons. Take Robby Shelton (23) out of the equation, and the average age of Web.com Tour winners in 2019 gets north of 30.
For all the talk about golf being a young man’s game, the 11 tournament winners on the Web.com Tour so far in 2019 prove that experience is just as important as a youthful exuberance.
The oldest winner so far this year was Vince Covello. At 36, he captured the Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by MISTRAS in March. Meanwhile Shelton, at 23, was the Tour’s youngest winner. He found the winner’s circle at the Nashville Golf Open Benefitting the Snedeker Foundation.
But everyone from Shelton to Covello had teed it up on the Web.com Tour in the past, and some – like Lanto Griffin (Robert Trent Jones Trail Golf Championship), Mark Hubbard (LECOM Suncoast Classic), Mark Anderson (Country Club de Bogota Championship), and Marty Dou (The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay) were recent PGA TOUR members.
Four countries have been represented in the winner’s circle so far this year, with the United States joined by China (Dou and Xinjun Zhang), Canada (Michael Gligic) and Puerto Rico, which produced its first-ever Web.com Tour winner in Rafael Campos (The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at The Abaco Club).
With the balance of the 2019 season still unfolding, will experience continue to trump youth?
Points Races Heating Up
With nearly half the season in the rearview, the all important season-long Points races are already heating up.
Xinjun Zhang leads The 25 by just under 200 points over Robby Shelton – winners both so far in 2019. Scottie Scheffler, who hasn’t found the winner’s circle yet but has been playing some steady golf so far, sits third, just 43 points behind Shelton at No. 2.
All 11 winners are currently inside The 25. All players who reside between Nos. 14-25 have yet to win, but have accumulated plenty of solid results as the first half of the season comes to a close.
Austin Smotherman holds the No. 26 spot, sitting just a single point behind Ben Kohles at No. 25.
Rico Hoey is at No. 75 – the cutoff point for a Web.com Tour Finals berth – and leads No. 76 Michael Johnson by, again, just a single point.
Birdies in Bunches
Per usual on the Web.com Tour, making birdies is paramount to a player’s success.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Xinjun Zhang – who is No. 1 on The 25 – also leads the Tour in total birdies. And he’s not just leading the category, he’s dominating it. He has made 20 more birdies than Scottie Scheffler at No. 2 (194 to 174).
More than half the players in the top-15 of the total birdies category hold spots inside The 25.
With the average winning score from the first 11 events of 2019 being double-digits under par, making birdies in bunches – and eliminating mistakes – will continue to be key to players’ success.
Their Time is Coming
They haven’t won, but it seems like it will be a matter of “when” and not “if” for both Scottie Scheffler and Tyler McCumber. At Nos. 3 and 5, respectively, in The 25, the two players have recorded 10 top-10 finishes between them. In fact, Scheffler has finished outside the top-7 just twice this year at tournaments where he survived the cut line.
McCumber, meanwhile, has missed his last two cuts, but he started the year on fire – and on tournaments where he’s found the weekend, he has only finished outside the top-14 once.
While we’ve had 11 different winners to start the 2019 Web.com Tour season, several potential contenders wait in the wings. And good play brings good results.