Monday Qualifiers: Shriners Children's Open
Former amateur star Jin Jeong comes back from injury to qualify
October 05, 2021
By Will Doctor , PGATOUR.COM
- October 05, 2021
- Jared Wolfe qualified and is in the field at TPC Summerlin. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
Three rookies fresh off the Korn Ferry Tour, and one former amateur star who hasn’t competed in an official event in three years, were the four Monday qualifiers for this week’s Shriners Children’s Open.
Jared Wolfe was Monday’s medalist by coming within one bad break of breaking 60. He was 12 under when he hit his tee shot into the fairway on the final hole. His approach shot hit the bottom of the flagstick, however, and rolled 30 feet away. His putt for 59 stopped 3 inches short of the hole. Still, he was more than satisfied with shooting 60.
“The goal is to make it in (the event) this week, and that was just a little cherry on top to try and shoot 59,” Wolfe told PGATOUR.COM.
Former Stanford All-American Brandon Wu, winner of last year’s Korn Ferry Tour presented by United Leasing & Finance, earned the second qualifying spot with a bogey-free 62. The final two spots went to Alex Smalley – who was teammates with Wu on the United States’ victorious Walker Cup team in 2019 – and Jin Jeong, who both shot 63.
Jeong may be the story of the week. He will play his first PGA TOUR event in seven years after qualifying Monday. Jeong was 20 years old when he won the 2010 British Amateur and finished T14 in that year’s Open Championship at St. Andrews. He won on the European Tour three years later but has endured a rocky road since. He suffered a hip injury in 2015 and went on to miss 32 consecutive cuts. Jeong, 31, has not held a card on any worldwide tour in five years and his last start in an event offering Official World Golf Ranking points was a lone event in 2018.
Jin Jeong Q&A
PGATOUR.COM: What have you been doing the past couple of years?
Jeong: I was on the European Tour for a few years, and then I got injured and my game was in a bad place. I took a break. Now I am trying to come back and play any tour. For the last couple of years, I have been teaching. While I am teaching, I try to play in as many tournaments as I can. This year I’ve started to play better so I’m trying to play more.
PGATOUR.COM: How do you feel your game is right now?
Jeong: Recently my game started feeling really good. I’ve been hitting it pretty solid off the tee, and my irons and putting have been pretty good. Today everything was solid and I didn’t make many mistakes.
PGATOUR.COM: What are your goals at this stage in your career?
Jeong: The first goal is to get back on tour. If it is the PGA TOUR, that would be the best.
PGATOUR.COM: What would getting a start on the PGA TOUR do for your confidence?
Jeong: It’s huge. Especially after a few years of taking a break. Earlier this year, I didn’t know which tour or tournaments I was going to play. Today, I shot -9, and that was good for me to see some results. If that gets me a PGA TOUR start, that would give me a lot of confidence.
PGATOUR.COM: Did you think about not pursuing professional golf, and if so, how long was that a thought?
Jeong: I always wanted to come back. To me, it didn’t matter how long it would take. I try to work on small things, achieve small goals, and focus on the process.
Jared Wolfe (60)
College: Murray State
Turned pro: 2010
PGA TOUR starts: 2
Cuts made: 0
Notes: Qualified for this season by finishing eighth on the Korn Ferry Tour’s Regular Season Points List, including two wins… Missed the cut in the first two events of this season (Fortinet Championship, Sanderson Farms Championship)… Won three times on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica between 2017-19. Member of Murray State’s 2010 Ohio Valley Conference championship team… Says he started playing golf because he couldn’t jump high enough to play basketball and was too slow for other sports… Ranked 340th in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Brandon Wu (62)
Turned pro: 2019
PGA TOUR starts: 13
Cuts made: 6
PGA TOUR earnings: $264,112
Notes: Finished 13th on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List, making 21 of 28 cuts and winning the Korn Ferry Tour Championship presented by United Leasing & Finance… Has missed his first two cuts of the season at the Fortinet Championship and Sanderson Farms Championship… Made nine PGA TOUR starts between 2020-21, with his best finish at last year’s Houston Open (T17)… Played four years of college golf at Stanford, going 3-0 in match play to help the Cardinal to the 2019 NCAA team title… While still an amateur, qualified for both the 2019 U.S. Open (T35) and Open Championship (MC); he was the first amateur since Joe Carr in 1967 to qualify for both championships. Because he missed his graduation to play in the U.S. Open at nearby Pebble Beach, received his degree on the final green Sunday… Also was the U.S. Amateur’s the stroke-play medalist in 2019 and was a semifinalist at 2018 Western Amateur… Won the 2017 Porter Cup… Was ranked 60th in the high school class of 2015. Led Deerfield Academy (Mass.) to 2013 New England Championship in golf and swimming. Ranked 258th in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Jin Jeong (63)
Turned pro: 2011
PGA TOUR starts: 8
Cuts made: 4
PGA TOUR earnings: $175,250
Notes: Will make his first PGA TOUR start since the 2014 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions… Played three events during the 2014 PGA TOUR season, with his best finish coming at the WGC-HSBC Champions (T18)… Won his first event as a professional on the European Tour at the 2013 ISPS Handa Perth International in a playoff against Ross Fisher… Tied for second with Tyrrell Hatton in the 2014 Joburg Open, three shots behind George Coetzee… Won The Amateur Championship in 2010. Took advantage of his British Open exemption that year by finishing T14 as an amateur… Reached No. 1 in the world amateur ranking, holding the spot for five weeks… His last PGA TOUR start was the WGC-HSBC Champions in November 2014. He shot 85-79-75-80 to finish last by 13 shots.
Alex Smalley (63)
Turned pro: 2019
PGA TOUR starts: 6
Cuts made: 3
PGA TOUR earnings: $135,788
Notes: Birdied the final four holes of the Wyndham Championship in August to clinch his spot in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals. Then made the cut in all three Finals events, including a T4 finish, to earn his TOUR card… Finished T31 at the Sanderson Farms Championship last week… Made the cut in all four PGA TOUR starts last season, including three top-30 finishes… Had two top-5 finishes in four starts on the Forme Tour this year… Was a four-year letterman at Duke and was named 2019 Duke Scholar-Athlete of the Year… Was a member of the 2019 U.S. Arnold Palmer Cup team and the Walker Cup team. Ranked 411 in the Official World Golf Rankings… Medalist in the 2016 U.S. Amateur… First player since Rickie Fowler to win the Sunnehanna Amateur in consecutive years.
Notables who missed qualifying: D.J. Trahan, Beau Hossler, Austin Eckroat, John Huh, Paul Barjon, Jonathan Byrd, Justin Suh, Spencer Levin, Eric Axley, Aaron Baddeley, Robert Garrigus, Andrew Loupe, Bo Hoag, K.K. Limbhasut, David Lipsky, Braden Thornberry, Sangmoon Bae, Bob May, Ricky Barnes, Tain Lee, Scott Harrington, Patrick Rodgers, and Dylan Wu.
2021-2022 Monday Qualifiers statistics
Last event’s qualifier results (Sanderson Farms Championship): Grant Hirschman (T17), Sam Saunders (MC), Quade Cummins (MC), Kyle Reifers (T35).
Total money earned by Monday qualifiers on TOUR this season: $137,976
Best finish of the 2021-22 season by a Monday qualifier: Grant Hirschman (T17, Sanderson Farms Championship).
Next qualifier: Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Club in Southhampton, Bermuda (Oct. 18, 2021)