WEB.COM TOUR INSIDER
Bubble Watch: Covello finds summer stride, eye on Finals berth
August 01, 2018
By Kevin Prise, PGATOUR.COM
Vince Covello comments about being on the top 75 bubblePrior to the KC Golf Classic, Vince Covello talks about the mindset of being on the bubble for one of the top 75 spots on the Web.com Tour money list, required to keep full status next season and earn entry into Web.com Tour Finals.
This is Vince Covello’s time of year.
One summer ago, the proud Philadelphia-area native finished a career-best T3 at the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae to secure his first Web.com Tour Finals berth, and job security for the first time in his decade-plus pro career.
This year, Covello has found himself outside the top 75 on the money list (the benchmark needed to secure a Finals berth) for the majority of the Web.com Tour Regular Season.
But the Jacksonville Beaches-area transplant is taking strides to change that.
The 35-year-old has played his last eight competitive rounds in a combined 27-under, finishing T6 at the Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Heartland Chevy Dealers and T21 at the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper.
Two weeks ago, the University of North Florida alum stood No. 113 on the money list.
He’s now No. 83, poised to move inside the top 75 with a strong performance at this week’s KC Golf Classic.
Considering the stakes, it amounts to a stressful time of year for players in Covello’s position. Uneven play can necessitate an autumn return to the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament, in order to secure starts for the following season.
But the fifteenth-year pro chooses to embrace the challenge.
“Certainly you see where you stand on the money list, but it’s the end of the year, time to man up,” Covello said Tuesday at the Nicklaus GC at LionsGate in Overland Park, Kansas, this week’s host venue.
“Trying to get into the top 75, or the top 25 … there are a bunch of categories out here, where guys have their nose to the grindstone and are trying to hustle.
“You can only handle so much, so you can only control yourself. The biggest thing is just going out and playing the best that you can, day-in and day-out. Sometimes you get the good results, sometimes you don’t. As long as you get the best out of yourself, or are trying to get the best out of yourself, that’s what matters.”
Players who finish inside the top 75 on the Regular Season money list gain entry into the Web.com Tour Finals, with a chance at a PGA TOUR card via The Finals 25, and secure Web.com Tour status for 2019.
A look at how the top-75 bubble projects entering the KC Golf Classic ...
Rank Player Money Total 71 Lee McCoy $60,462 72 Christian Brand $58,594 73 Brandon Matthews $58,460 74 Oscar Fraustro $57,588 75 Brandon Hagy $56,740 76 Kyle Reifers $56,298 77 Mark Blakefield $55,889 78 Curtis Luck $55,136 79 Luke Guthrie $53,926 80 Jason Gore $53,483
Covello is no stranger to keeping his nose to that proverbial grindstone.
It took until 2010, his seventh year as a pro, for the avid Philadephia sports fan to make his first Web.com Tour start.
It took until 2013, his 10th year as a pro, to play a full Web.com Tour season.
It took until 2017, his 14th year as a pro, to fare well enough in a Web.com Tour season to keep his card.
After missing seven cuts in a nine-event stretch earlier this season, he has found consistency in the Tour’s mid-summer slate. He has made five cuts in his last six starts, and even in that missed cut (Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank), he shot 3-under for two rounds.
Covello credits strong putting and a more consistent shot shape as keys in the recent uptick, as well as a ‘Finals beard’ of sorts, which he has been growing for the past two months.
“I grew it out for about six weeks before Utah, and I don’t think I got enough credit for what I did there (he did not win the Utah Championship’s annual Mustache Madness competition), but I’m going to let it keep going,” Covello said. “At least until something really good happens and I lock up my job for next year, or something like that.
“It’s getting to be a pain, but it’s here. So we’ll keep it for now.”
Players who finish inside the top 25 on the Regular Season money list (The 25) will secure PGA TOUR membership for the 2018-19 season, and will have an opportunity to improve their spot on the season-long money list via the Web.com Tour Finals.
A look at how The 25 bubble shapes up entering the KC Golf Classic ...
Rank Player Money Total 21 Brady Schnell $158,642 22 Henrik Norlander $153,533 23 Joseph Bramlett $152,493 24 Adam Long $151,866 25 Alex Prugh $148,911 26 Eric Axley $145,056 27 Nelson Ledesma $144,171 28 Michael Arnaud $140,735 29 Willy Wilcox $138,141 30 Taylor Moore $137,863
Covello now plays out of Atlantic Beach (Fla.) Country Club, host venue for the Web.com Tour Championship, the final leg of the four-event Web.com Tour Finals.
In his Finals debut last year, he embraced the warmth and support of his home crowd, despite falling shy of the cut line.
He’d love for another shot at the Tour Championship, and the Finals in general, but he knows that work remains.
Three more events in the Regular Season. Eight spots outside the top 75.
“It’s never-ending,” said Covello of the commitment required in professional golf. “You go home at night thinking about it, thinking about the one shot you could’ve saved, however much money that meant at the end of the week.
“We’re out here early in the mornings, trying to dial our equipment in and figure our game out. It’s never-ending; I mean, you’ve got to live, eat, sleep and breathe it.
“It’s our profession, it’s our job and it’s our passion. So if you’re not giving it your all, you’re going to get left in the dust.”