Five finalists for 2018 Player of Year
October 04, 2018
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
Sungjae Im wins by four strokes at WinCo Foods
Between the victories, the fine play, the drama, and the money-earned, there was a lot to celebrate this year on the Web.com Tour.
But there were five season-long performances that outshone all the rest, and with that, we have our five nominees for the 2018 Web.com Tour Player of the Year.
All five of the golfers up for the Web.com Tour’s highest honor are making their PGA TOUR debuts this week, a reward for a tremendous season.
There remains one more reward up for grabs.
Below are the five finalists for the 2018 Web.com Tour Player of the Year award.
In the midst of his third season on the Web.com Tour, Anders Albertson finally broke through in a big way. The Georgia Tech alum was solid from start to finish, missing only three cuts all year long. In the 20 events he found the weekend, he finished in the top-25 14 times. His win at the Lincoln Land Championship presented by LRS all-but secured him a spot on the PGA TOUR for the first time, and after making the cut in all four Web.com Tour Finals events (including, appropriately, a near-win at the Albertsons Boise Open) he improved his priority ranking that much more. Albertson’s deft touch on the greens in 2018 helped the 25-year-old lead the Web.com Tour in Birdie Average.
Key Stats: 1st (Birdie Average), 5th (Putting Average)
Regular Season Money List: 8th
Best Finish: Won (Lincoln Land Championship presented by LRS)
Quote of the Year: “I’m better than I thought” (after his victory in July)
Although Sam Burns’ 2018 highlight may have come on the PGA TOUR – he bested childhood idol Tiger Woods Sunday at The Honda Classic, one of 11 TOUR events he played, including the U.S. Open – his consistent play on the Web.com Tour throughout the year earned the Louisiana native a spot on the PGA TOUR full-time for 2019. Burns finished second on The 25 after four top-5 finishes, including a win early in the year. He led the Tour in Putting Average this year, and when he was on, it was never a surprise to see him near the top of the leaderboard.
Key Stats: 1st (Putting Average), 2nd (Par-5 Scoring Average)
Regular Season Money List: 2nd
Best Finish: Won (Savannah Golf Championship)
Quote of the Year: “I looked over at him and said, ‘Man it’s crazy all these people came to watch me today isn’t it?’” (after he bested Tiger Woods Sunday at The Honda Classic)
The 2017 Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada Player of the Year is looking to become the first person to ever win the Mackenzie Tour and then Web.com Tour Player of the Year awards in back-to-back seasons. Hickok was steady during the Regular Season – finishing 23rd on the money list – but he really broke through during the Web.com Tour Finals. He captured the DAP Championship presented by NewBrick, finished tied for 14th at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, and tied for eighth at the Web.com Tour Championship. Hickok has bought his own home, too, meaning he can no longer be called ‘Jordan Spieth’s roommate.’ But given Hickok’s accomplishments this season, he’s made a name for himself regardless.
Key Stats: 4th (Scrambling), 10th (Driving Accuracy)
Regular Season Money List: 23rd
Best Finish: Won (DAP Championship presented by NewBrick)
Quote of the Year: “This is massive for him. It’s so well-deserved and earned, and it’s honestly one of the coolest experiences I’ve had for a friend” (Jordan Spieth on Hickok’s victory)
For the first time in Web.com Tour history, a golfer lead the money list from the first Sunday of the Regular Season all the way through the final Sunday, and that golfer was Sungjae Im. This year’s Iron Man – Im missed only one event during the Regular Season, to play in the PGA Championship which he got into via his OWGR – without having a permanent residence in the United States. He captured the first event of the season in the Bahamas and the final event of the season in Portland, and sprinkled in six other top-10 results as well. He made the most birdies of anyone on Tour in 2018 and was handsomely rewarded for his low scores, as he captured the money list title by more than $240,000.
Key Stats: 1st (Total Birdies), 4th (Scoring Average)
Regular Season Money List: 1st
Best Finish: Won (The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay, WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft-Heinz)
Quote of the Year: “He’s got the full package” (Kramer Hickok on Im)
It was quite the year for Martin Trainer, the only other two-time winner on the Web.com Tour this year beyond Sungjae Im. Trainer captured the first event he played this year in Mexico after successfully open-qualifying as a non-member. After securing Web.com Tour status for the balance of the year after his win, the France-born Trainer notched two other top-10 finishes throughout the summer… including his second victory in Missouri. His two wins helped him to finish fourth on the Regular Season money list.
Key Stats: 6th (Driving Distance), 2nd (Birdie or Better Conversion Percentage)
Regular Season Money List: 4th
Best Finish: Won (El Bosque Mexico Championship by Innova, Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr. Pepper)
Quote of the Year: “I just can’t believe it would come in this fashion” (on earning a PGA TOUR card after his second win of the year)