Monday qualifiers: The Honda Classic
February 25, 2020
By Ryan French, PGATOUR.COM
- February 25, 2020
- Hayden Buckley shot 66 to Monday qualify for The Honda Classic. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Here is a look at the four players who Monday qualified for The Honda Classic. The qualifier was held at Banyan Bay Resort and Golf in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Hayden Buckley (66)
College: University of Missouri
Turned pro: 2018
PGA TOUR starts: 1
PGA TOUR earnings: $9,240
Notes: Is a current Korn Ferry Tour member after finishing T83 at final stage but has not yet made a start on Korn Ferry this year … Made it to final stage of Q school after finishing sixth on OOM on Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada. He made 11 of 12 cuts including a win at the ATB Financial Open. Had six top-10s … Has three career Korn Ferry Tour starts … Successfully Monday qualified into both the Panama Championship and Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Championship with 64s last year on Korn Ferry Tour. He made cuts in both events with a best finish of T41 … Last year in the Honda Monday Qualifer shot a 66 and made birdie on three of four playoff holes but was still eliminated … On last hole this year, his approach into a par 5 hit a sprinkler head and bounded 30 yards over the green. He made a 3-footer for par … Was ranked as high as 34th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) while at Missouri … His high school golf team won three state finals in four years.
Daniel Wetterich (66)
College: Ohio State
Turned pro: 2019
PGA TOUR starts: 0
PGA TOUR earnings: 0
Notes: Is a Korn Ferry Tour member this year after becoming one of the few players to make it thru Pre-qualifying, first, and second stage of Q school … Was medalist at Q school pre-q, finished third at first stage, T14 at second stage … He finished T90 at final stage … This will be his first career start on any PGA TOUR-sanctioned tour … Ranked as high as 166th in WAGR before turning pro … Was freshman of the year at Xavier University before transferring to Ohio State … Runner-up to NHL referee Garret Rank in the Western Amateur, losing 3 & 2 in finals … Named to All-Big Ten team in 2019, and had a scoring average of 72 … Has been staying at Walker Cup captain Nathaniel Crosby’s house for last week along with Alex Smalley while practicing at a nearby club to get ready for Monday qualifier … Brother David is also a pro golfer … Nephew of former Ryder Cup team member and PGA TOUR winner Brett Wetterich.
Andrew McCain (66)
College: University of Maryland
Turned pro: 2017
PGA TOUR starts: 0
PGA TOUR earnings: 0
Notes: This will be his first career PGA TOUR start … Birdied four of his last seven holes to tie for medalist … Has two career Korn Ferry Tour starts, missing the cut in both … Was medalist at Mackenzie Tour Q school last year … Played all 12 Mackenzie Tour events, making six cuts, with six top-25s … Best finish was at the Bayview Place DC Bank Open presented by Times Colonist where he finished T18 … In 2018, he played 11 events on the Dakotas Tour, making nine cuts with four top-10s … Has won two Minnesota State Opens, one as an amateur, and one as a professional … Has played in six Minor League Golf Tour events in 2020 and has a win, a second, and a third.
Arjun Atwal (67)
College: Nassau Community College
Turned Pro: 1995
PGA TOUR starts: 229
PGA TOUR earnings: $5,016,482
Notes: One of four players to win a PGA TOUR event after Monday qualifying when he won the 2010 Wyndham Championship … Won the Wyndham after opening with a 61 and hanging on to beat David Toms by one … Also became the first Indian-born player to win on the PGA TOUR … Earlier in the 2010 season, he lost his card after not earning enough money on a medical exemption … In 2005, he lost in a five-man playoff at the BellSouth Classic, won by Phil Mickelson … Last time he played a full schedule on the PGA TOUR was 2012 when he played 27 events and finished 171st in FedEx Cup points … Has three European Tour wins (all three were co-sanctioned events with Asian tour) … Also has five additional Asian Tour wins … In 2008, he won the Chattanooga Classic on the Korn Ferry Tour, beating Webb Simpson in a playoff … His last worldwide win came on the Asian Tour in 2014 at the Dubai Open.
A quick chat with Hayden Buckley after Monday qualifying at The Honda Classic:
PGATOUR.COM: You weren’t heavily recruited out of high school, but ended up playing at an SEC school, can you tell us how that came about?
HAYDEN BUCKLEY: “I really wasn’t recruited much out of high school; I just didn’t play well in some big junior events so not a lot of schools were interested. I wanted to stay local, but it was basically a few community colleges. I wanted to go bigger but honestly at that time don’t think I had the talent to go bigger. I had one DI offer and it wasn’t really much. My (swing) coach Chris Harder had played for Mark Leroux at Austin Peay and was coach at Missouri. Chris called him and he (Leroux) gave me a scholarship without ever seeing me hit a single shot. I mean, that was a life changer. He never saw me play golf, didn’t even know really what I looked like and gave me a chance. It’s rare now a days and it changed my life.”
PGATOUR.COM: You were in the morning wave, so it’s a long wait once you post a score. Are you a scoreboard watcher or do you try to get away?
BUCKLEY: “Today I went and had a beautiful lunch at Chic Fil A and hung out there trying to waste some time. Then I went to a buddy’s house and we talked about my finish. [Hayden made an 8-footer on 17 for bogey and struggled for par on 18.] But after that, I just mentally prepared myself for a 6:30 p.m. playoff. But trust me there was a lot of scoreboard watching. Starting in the middle of the day, I refreshed it every couple of minutes for the next few hours. I mean, I looked at it a ton. And you analyze everything. I saw some guys shot -3 (on the opening nine), but it was on back and knew the front was playing harder. You are just waiting for guys that are close to come in and you just never know what is going to happen. I’ve been through some of these and learned that. I mean today is good example; last score was Andrew McCain. I mean those guys at 5 under had to be feeling great, then all of a sudden, they have to go right to a playoff.”
PGATOUR.COM: You shot 66 last year at this Monday but lost in a playoff. Does that give you confidence coming back here or bring up some past frustrations?
BUCKLEY: “Mostly confidence for sure, but the guys I played my practice round with asked if I had played here before. I told them yeah last year I shot 66, birdied three of the four playoff holes and was playing a mini-tour event the next day. I showed up this year and I know I’m a lot better (player) then I was last year, and I got into a playoff last year so that gives me a ton of confidence.”
PGATOUR.COM: Of course, there is pressure at any Monday qualifier but at the end of day this is what you do for living. Compare the feeling here to a Korn Ferry Monday because you are a member there?
BUCKLEY: “Like today at a PGA [TOUR] Monday, I really have nothing to lose; there are guys out there who need starts to keep cards and stuff. So not a ton of pressure, though I want to play well. But at the Korn Ferry Mondays, I have felt pressure for sure because I’m a member. I know that if I Monday and make a cut, I’m going to get starts through the season. I was 6 under through 12 at one of those Korn Ferry Mondays and it was early, you know? If I got in, my season would be all set. Now that I have status, I’ve told myself if I can get into an event before Mackenzie starts and if I can get 10 starts on Korn Ferry, I’m not going to Canada. If I can’t get something done in 10 starts, that’s on me.”
NOTABLE MISSES: Adam Svensson 67 (lost in playoff), Sam Saunders 70, Robert Allenby 71, Alex Cejka 72, Jonathan Byrd 73, John Senden 75
STRENGTH OF HONDA CLASSIC MONDAY Q FIELD
Combined number of PGA TOUR starts: 5,612
Number of players with at least one PGA TOUR win: 12
Combined number of PGA TOUR wins: 23
Combined PGA TOUR earnings: More than $200 million
Combined Korn Ferry Tour wins: 41
Players with most PGA TOUR wins in the field: Jonathan Byrd 5, Robert Allenby 4 (Allenby also has 4 European Tour wins along with 12 Australasian wins)
Banyan Creek Golf and Resort
2019-2020 SEASON MONDAY QUALIFIER STATS
Average Medalist score: 65.1
Average last qualifying spot score: 66.5
Total number of cuts made: 9 of 43 (21%)
Most recent results (Puerto Rico Open): Will Gordon T20, Andrew Loupe MC, Carl Yuan MC, Justin Doeden MC
Money earned: $311,028
Best finish: Garrett Osborn, T18, Sanderson Farms Championship
UPCOMING MONDAY QUALIFIERS
March 9: Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, The Preserve at Ironhorse (Note: This Monday qualifier is held two weeks prior to event)
March 16: Valspar Championship, Southern Hills Plantation
NOTES FROM OTHER TOURS
PGA TOUR Champions: Hugh Royer III, who less than two years ago faced 26 hours of surgery for cancer, Monday Qualified for the Colorguard Classic. His last start was on Korn Ferry Tour almost 20 years ago.