Monday qualifiers: Valero Texas Open
March 30, 2021
By Ryan French, PGATOUR.COM
- March 30, 2021
- Sam Fidone shot 66 to qualify for his second PGA TOUR event of the season. (Enrique Berardi/Getty Images)
Here is a look at the four players who qualified for the Valero Texas Open. The group includes a former Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year who now works as a driving range pro, Patrick Rodgers’ former caddie and college teammate and a Texas native who played college golf with Bryson DeChambeau. The qualifier was held at Club at Comanche Trail in Kerrville, Texas.
Sam Fidone (66)
Turned pro: 2013
PGA TOUR starts: 2
Cuts Made: 0
Best PGA TOUR Finish: n/a
Notes: Monday qualified for the Vivint Houston Open this year (MC) … Finished 18th on the PGA TOUR Canada-Mackenzie Tour Order of Merit in 2019. His best finish was a second at the ATB Financial Classic … He finished sixth on the Mackenzie Tour Order of Merit in 2018, including a win at the Bayview Place DC Bank Open Presented by Times Colonist … Has seven career wins on the All Pro Tour, including a stretch where he had four wins and a runner-up in five tournaments … Was college teammates with Bryson DeChambeau.
Tain Lee (66)
Turned pro: 2012
PGA TOUR starts: 1
Cuts made: 1
Best PGA TOUR Finish: 69th, Farmers Insurance Open
PGA TOUR earnings: $15,375
Notes: Also Monday qualified for this year’s Farmers Insurance Open, finishing 69th. Had to make an 8-foot putt on the last hole of the pre-qualifier just to advance to the Monday qualifier. He then made it through the Monday qualifier and made the cut on the number in his first PGA TOUR start … He has four top-10s in 33 career starts on the Mackenzie Tour … Played on the Challenge Tour, the satellite tour of the European Tour in 2014 … Played the Korn Ferry Tour in 2013 and made five of 20 cuts. … Won the Jack Nicklaus Award in 2010 as the top player in NCAA Division III.
Patrick Grimes (66)
College: Stanford University
Turned Pro: 2015
PGA TOUR starts:07
Cuts made: N/A
Notes: Caddied for former Stanford teammate and friend Patrick Rodgers on the PGA TOUR before going back to playing full-time … Birdied two of the last three at the pre-qualifier to get through on the number … Eagled two of the last four holes in the Monday qualifier to advance … Was team captain during his senior year at Stanford … Won on the Golden State Tour in 2020 after opening with a 65.
JJ Killeen (67)
Turned Pro: 2005
PGA TOUR starts: 34
Cuts made: 17
Best PGA TOUR Finish: 8th, 2012 True South Classic
PGA TOUR earnings: $414,257
Notes: The 2011 Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year after finishing first on the money list and winning back-to-back starts. He was 44 under in those eight rounds … He had seven top-10s and 11 top-25s during that season … He has 150 career starts on the Korn Ferry Tour, his last coming in 2016 … Has a cult following on social media, where he refers to himself as the West Texas Driving Range Pro. … His last start came in the 2015 Valero Texas Open, where he missed the cut.
PGATOUR.COM talked with JJ Killeen who will play in his first PGA TOUR start since the Valero Texas Open in 2015.
PGATOUR.COM: I know you like to joke around a lot, but what are your serious feelings about getting through?
KILLEEN: I’m getting older, 39, almost 40, so it’s not getting any easier. I’ve been playing pretty well, but as you well know Monday’s can be really hard. Flying all over the country can be physically and emotionally draining. I have been in like three playoffs in the last eight Mondays and finally got through. It feels really good man. I have been really close.
PGATOUR.COM: You have been really close in a few Monday’s over the last couple of months, is that frustrating or encouraging?
It’s frustrating, but it’s not. If you went out there and made like 400 feet in putts, missed by one, but it was all smoke and mirrors you might think that was my only chance. Besides the 80 I dropped in San Diego when it was snowing and hailing on the back nine, I have really played well. I missed by one or two a bunch and lost in a couple playoffs. I knew I was on the planet. … If you are a guy that has missed by a million each week, then got through somehow that is a different feeling. It’s good to be able to do it. Before last year, I probably played 10 Monday qualifiers my whole life. I had never flown to a Monday in my life before last year. This took some time to get used to, but I’ve played well over the last bit.
PGATOUR.COM: You have battled some injuries, and this will be your first start in five years, what will it be like having your kids watching you?
That is super cool. They don’t think I have a job; they just think I play golf with friends all the time. It’s nice to Monday in Texas. Lubbock (where J.J. lives) is not easy to travel from so it’s nice that it is just a five-hour drive here. A five-hour drive is nothing in Texas. The kids haven’t seen me play a real tournament. It will be great to have them and my wife there. She hasn’t seen me play in forever either.
PGATOUR.COM: You have a large following that really loves you on social media, what was turning on your phone like after the playoff?
That is the stuff that make it really cool and emotional. (So) many people were hanging on updates. I really do appreciate it though, I just try to keep it real, and hopefully people like that. I’m really excited about this start and can’t wait to get out there..
NOTABLE MISSES: Derek Lamely, Jay McLuen, Zach Zaback, Matt Oshrine, Isaiah Salinda, Ethan Marcus, all lost in playoff
Club at Comanche Trail: 7,281 yards (76.2 rating 12 slope)
2020-2021 SEASON MONDAY QUALIFIER STATS
Total number of cuts made: 20 for 54 (37%)
Previous event (Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship): Eric Cole (T22), Andrew Yun (T22), MJ Daffue (MC), Chris Wiatr (MC)
Money earned: $576,878
Best finish: MJ Daffue T12, Sanderson Farms
NEXT MONDAY QUALIFIER
Valspar Championship: April 26th, Southern Hills Plantation
NOTES FROM OTHER TOURS
Jefferey Kang made a 30-foot eagle putt from off the green to take home medalist honors at PGA TOUR CANADA-Mackenzie Tour.
Alvaro Ortiz Becerra, brother of PGA TOUR winner Carlos Ortiz, shot a closing round 63 on the Latinoamerican Tour to take home the Mexico Open.