I love dreamers. Which was why I loved following all the dreamers working their way to get to Q-school for a chance to be on the PGA Tour. The odds were not good…frankly, they were awful, but still, year after year over a thousand golfers started on the journey that would give only 25 players a PGA Tour card.
As was my tradition, I would scroll through the lists of players at each site, searching for players from my home state of Minnesota to learn about, follow, and cheer on. There were usually 4-6 players to learn about and on occasion, one might make it to the final stage. But there was joy in my journey, living vicariously through their dream, even if most times it had a sad ending.
Then the PGA Tour decided to change the way Q-school worked. There would no longer be a “dreamers route” from Club Pro to PGA Pro…everything would now be filtered through the web.com (formally Nationwide and others) Tour.
This did not make me happy!! Everything about Q-school was compelling to me and I just couldn’t understand why in the world they would want to change it. Well, apparently, if I remember correctly, the PGA Tour realized that there wasn’t a lot of retention success with those players joining the Tour from Q-school vs. those that “Graduated” from the web.com tour and they felt it made the most sense to have all 50 new PGA Tour players come out of the web.com Tour instead of 25 from there and 25 from Q-school.
So now Q-school is done to get into the web.com Tour…and once you’re there you’re fighting to get into the Top 50 for your chance for the big dance.
I get it. It actually makes sense. But my problem lies in the fact that I’m just not following the web.com Tour so I don’t know who these guys are – but Q-school? It’s a dreamers story!
So, after fighting it for a few years I’ve decided to check out the web.com Q-school process. Interestingly, what
I’ve looked at so far looks identical to the old Q-school – same web site (bluegolf), same formats, and even some of the same names! I guess maybe you do need to go through middle management before thinking you can be CEO?
Stage 1 has recently finished and Stage 2 is coming up in the next few weeks…approximately 921 golfers participated in Stage 1 (12 events) and about 300 will advance to Stage 2 – with some add-on players who qualified right into Stage 2.
By the looks of the scores, some of the tracks (and/or weather) were tougher than others. In the Stage 1 event in Utah the top 25 qualified and the worst score that qualified was -15!! Birdie Fest!
I once again scrolled through the Stage 1 qualifying results to find Minnesota players…I found 3 that are moving on to Stage 2 and 3 that were not successful.
The first one I found was Cam (Cameron) White. His posted hometown was Plymouth, MN but upon Google searching I also found Wayzata, MN, too. It was difficult to find current information about Cam…I found him on LinkedIn and Twitter but there wasn’t much info on 2016. Cam played the Dakotas Tour and had a pretty good 2015 and on his LinkedIn it looked like he played on the Canadian Tour one season, too. I think he was a Gopher and looks to be about 28 or 29 years old now. A T16 in Nebraska will get him to the 2nd Stage. In his 4th round he went out in 38 but then came in with a 32 to finish just 1 stroke above the cut line. I’m excited to follow him in Stage 2!
Next up is Donald Constable. Constable made it to the PGA Tour in 2013 after making it through the “old” Q-school format. On the number…with Patrick Reed. In 16 events, there were no cuts made, and he ended up back at Q-school where he failed to advance to the finals. Constable did qualify for the US Open in 2014, and then in 2015 played a season on the Canadian PGA Tour. I’m not finding a ton of information for 2016, but he finished T2 in Stage 1 in Utah with only 1 bogey and 3 eagles in all 4 rounds, finishing -23. I hope this means he’s peaking just in time to get through Stage 2!
A new name for me was Ben Welle from Moorhead, MN. Through some searching on the net I found out he spent 2 years at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona before heading to the University of Kansas, finishing his college golf career this summer. Welle turned pro this summer and has plans to play on some developmental tours, unless of course he gets full status on the web.com tour! I found Ben on Twitter and he’s pretty excited about his Q-school progress – so am I! He posted that he knows he’ll be in California for his Stage 2 qualifier. I will be following!
Three players from Minnesota that didn’t advance to Stage 2 include Hudson Carpenter, from Moorhead, MN, who attended college at South Dakota State University through 2014 and it looks like he turned pro. He has been playing on the North Star Professional Tour in the Twin Cities area. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a great result at his Stage 1, finishing T68. We’ll have to see what he’ll be up to next.
Another new name to me was Robert Bell from Pierz, MN. Bell was a 2008 high school graduate and then went on to be a Minnesota Gopher for 4 years. Bell turned pro in 2013 and according to the Brainerd Dispatch, he played on the Canadian PGA Tour in 2015. Bell played Stage 1 in Las Vegas and finished T36, right in the middle of the pack. Bell will be someone to follow, too!
The final Minnesota name I remembered was Clayton Rask, although his entry showed that he is now from Atlanta, GA. I’ve written about Clayton before and he turned pro back in 2008. In a quick look at PGAtour.com, Rask is currently playing on the Canadian PGA Tour and has been for a couple of seasons. He was also in Las Vegas for stage 1 and finished T32 just outside of making it to Stage 2.
So, I guess I’m hooked again!! Stage 2 will be happening within the next 3 weeks and we’ll have to see what happens. I know it won’t be the same, but these guys are dreamers just the same.
GO Minnesota!! Go Q-school!!
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