Storylines: Utah marks midway point of year

July 10, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

Sunday's The Greenbrier Classic leaderboard had the looks of one from last year's Tour. Of the top-11 finishers, five played the Tour last year. Nine of the 11 were Tour alums. Champion Ted Potter Jr. and playoff runner-up Troy Kelly finished second and 11th, respectively, in Tour earnings last year. Potter's win was the 335th by a Tour alumnus on the PGA TOUR.


Potter and Kelly played the previous week in the Tour's United Leasing Championship at Victoria National Golf Club near Evansville, Ind. where they finished T51 and T58, respectively, against one of the Tour's strongest fields of the year.

TED POTTER JR., THE PICTURE OF PERSEVERANCE -- In 2004, Potter Jr. was a fresh-faced 20-year-old with next-to-no experience on the national golf scene and not one PGA TOUR or Tour start on his resume. The going was as rough as it could be for Potter, who entered 24 events and did not once qualify for the weekend. He was not deterred, however, returning to the Tour in 2007 and again in 2010. At the beginning of last year, he had no status, but everything clicked after he successfully Monday-qualified for the South Georgia Classic in April and won the event six days later.

The Ocala native/resident would go on to win one more time and earn more than $400,000 and his 2012 PGA TOUR card. At last week's Greenbrier Classic he fired 64-64 on the weekend, catching Troy Kelly on the 72nd hole, then outlasting him in a three-hole playoff for his first PGA TOUR win. If Potter had been at last week's Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach his core value clearly would have been "perseverance". His seasoning on the Tour had clearly come full circle.

For more on Potter's unlikely road to PGA TOUR winner, click here.

WEB.COM TOUR REACHES MIDWAY POINT AT UTAH CHAMPIONSHIP -- The Utah Championship is the 14th of 27 Tour events in 2012, which effectively marks the season's halfway point. Through the first 13 events, Paul Haley II is atop the money list, followed by (2) Casey Wittenberg, (3) Luke List, (4) Andres Gonzales and (5) Andrew Svoboda. Last year, Utah was the 14th of 26 stops on the schedule. When the 2011 season was over in October, the top nine on the money list after Utah had secured their 2012 PGA TOUR cards. Of the next 16, only seven managed to do so. If that script repeats itself, and it seems to every year, THE 25 will look a good bit different in October than it does now.

FUTURE TOUR MEMBERS -- The USGA's Men's Public Links Championship will be held this week at nearby Soldier Hollow Golf Course in Midway (ends on Saturday). This is the first time a USGA national championship has been held in Utah. Over the years many aspiring professional golfers have competed in the Public Links, including a number of past champions who have gone on to win on both the Tour and the PGA TOUR -- Tim Clark (1997), D.J. Trahan (2000), Chez Reavie (2001) and Brandt Snedeker (2003). A number of volunteers will be working both events.

6th "MUSTACHE WEEK" IN UTAH -- The tradition known as "Mustache Week" returns for the sixth year in a row at the Utah Championship. Players, caddies and Tour staff have been growing their facial hairs over the last few weeks in an attempt to be the 2012 champion. The competition comes to a head on Tuesday evening when voting takes place. Last year's winner Bryan DeCorso will be in the field at Willow Creek Country Club. Joe Affrunti, who is rehabbing on the PGA TOUR, was the previous year's winner. Tour rookie Hudson Swafford has been blogging about his preparation for the contest the past two weeks for PGATOUR.COM.

To read Swafford's blog on his not-so-successful mustache, click here.

BIRTHDAY BOYS -- Celebrating his birthday in Utah this week is Josh Broadaway, who turns 34 on Saturday (14th).

UPCOMING / JORDAN SPIETH AND KELLY KRAFT HEADED TO COLUMBUS -- The Nationwide Tour gets one last breather next week before entering 2012's homestretch, a run of 13 tournaments in 14 weeks to end the season. It begins at the sixth Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational at Ohio State University's Scarlet Course in Columbus July 26-29. The tournament announced on Tuesday that the world's top-ranked amateur (World Amateur Golf Ranking) Jordan Spieth, a first-team All-American out of the University of Texas, has accepted the tournament's invitation to play in the event.

Also accepting invitations were reigning U.S. Amateur champion Kelly Kraft, and 10 other current/former collegiate stars. Spieth has played in four TOUR events this year, highlighted by his T21 in the U.S. Open last month. This will be his first Tour start. Kraft, who played at SMU, is now a professional and has played in seven PGA TOUR events this year. It will also be his Tour debut.