Former eGolf Tour Member Scott Stallings Wins Second Career PGA TOUR Title
By Stewart Moore
Madison, MS – At the PGA TOUR’s True South Classic, former eGolf Tour member Scott Stallings left behind a sophomore slump in 2012 to capture his second TOUR title with rounds of 68-64-64-68—264. The win, and $540,000 first-place prize, helped to resurrect what had been a difficult year on TOUR for one of the game’s better surprises in 2011.
Stallings, a member of the eGolf Tour in 2009, burst onto the PGA TOUR scene when he won the Greenbrier Classic in 2011 via a playoff victory over Bill Haas and Bob Estes. The win, which put Stallings into the season-opening Hyundai Championship in Hawaii, as well as The Masters Tournament, gave credence to the thought that the Tennessee native could be one of the TOUR’s up-and-coming stars.
A slow start to his 2012 campaign, however, left Stallings with just two top-25 finishes in his first 18 starts on the year, as well as 13 missed cuts entering the week in Madison.
Once onsite at Annandale Golf Club, Stallings’ 2011 form took hold, as opening rounds of 68-64-64—196 gave the former Tennessee Tech golfer a one-shot lead heading into Sunday’s final round.
The 27-year-old wasted little time in trying to secure win No. 2, posting birdies on three of his first 11 holes to reach 23-under for the week, then two shots clear of former eGolf Tour player Jason Bohn with just seven holes to play.
A bogey at the par-4 14th dropped Stallings’ lead to just one, but birdies at 16 and 17 increased it to three as he headed to the tee of the par-5 18th. When Bohn birdied the 72nd hole just in front of Stallings, the second-year player was forced to simply avoid disaster and hang on in order to secure the win. A closing par gave Stallings a final-round 68, a 24-under total, and the 2012 True South Classic title.
The win gave Stallings an additional year on the two-year PGA TOUR exemption he earned via his Greenbrier win in 2011, meaning he will be fully exempt on golf’s biggest stage through the 2014 season. The win also pushed his 2012 earnings up to $741,005, good for No. 94 on the TOUR’s money list.
Bohn’s birdie at the last gave him a closing 67 and a 22-under total through four rounds of play. The runner-up effort marked his best finish on the PGA TOUR since winning the 2010 Zurich Classic of New Orleans. The finish moved Bohn up to No. 115 on the money list with $603,472 in earnings.
Billy Horschel, a winner on the eGolf Tour in 2009, posted a career-best third-place finish at the True South Classic, thanks to rounds of 68-63-66-71—268.
The former University of Florida star, who posted his first professional victory at the eGolf Tour’s Columbia Open in August of 2009, entered Sunday’s final round trailing Stallings by one shot at 19-under 197 through 54 holes.
After making 16 birdies and three eagles in the first three rounds of the event, Horschel’s momentum slowed in the final round, with just two birdies and one bogey to close with a 1-under 71. The finish left Horschel at 20-under for the week, four shots shy of Stallings.
The top-10 put Horschel into this week’s RBC Canadian Open, where he had previously been an alternate.
Scott Brown, William McGirt and Will Claxton each finished T5 on the week at 18-under 270.
Brown, a five-time eGolf Tour winner and leading money winner in 2009, notched rounds of 72-66-67-65 to collect his third top-10 of his rookie year on the PGA TOUR. Brown’s finish adds further luster to what has been an up-and-down year. The former USC-Aiken star has made just four cuts so far this year on TOUR, but has notched top-10s three times for a 75 percent top-10 batting average. The T5 matched his career best finish on TOUR, posted at the Puerto Rico Open in March of this year.
The roller coaster year plays in stark contrast to Brown’s dominant eGolf Tour performance in 2009, when he won three times and set a single-season earnings record on tour with $142,362 earned on the year. All told, Brown won five times on the eGolf Tour from 2007 through 2009 prior to earning his Nationwide Tour card for the 2010 season. He spent 2010 and 2011 on the Nationwide Tour, then earned his PGA TOUR card for 2012 when he finished inside the top-25 on the now-Web.com Tour money list.
McGirt, one of the eGolf Tour’s longest-tenured members, is in his sophomore campaign on the PGA TOUR after going back to Q-School following a solid rookie year in 2011, in which he made it through two of the four events in the annual Playoffs for the FedExCup.
In Madison, McGirt posted rounds of 70-69-64-67 to post the best finish of his two-year PGA TOUR career, thanks in part to five birdies in his final 10 holes on Sunday. The finish, McGirt’s fourth top-25 of the year, pushed his season-long earnings to $528,445, good for 121st on the TOUR’s money list.
McGirt was a veritable ATM machine on the eGolf Tour from 2004 through 2009, collecting over 40 top-10s and a win at the 2007 Cabarrus Classic. He earned $532,933 in his rookie year on the PGA TOUR after a breakthrough year on the 2010 Nationwide Tour in which he finished 34th on the money list with earnings of $173,444.
Claxton, a two-year member of the eGolf Tour, continued a solid rookie year at the True South Classic with rounds of 67-67-68-68. The finish was Claxton’s second top-10 and sixth top-25 of the year.
Former eGolf Tour player Josh Teater posted rounds of 73-64-71-64—272 to finish in solo-ninth place, in turn marking his first top-10 of the 2012 season. The top-10 was Teater’s first since a T7 at the Frys.com Open in October of 2011.
Recent eGolf Tour participant Hunter Hamrick and former player Chris Kirk rounded out the tour’s representation inside the top 10 with 15-under totals and matching T10 finishes. Hamrick, a recent University of Alabama graduate and member of the Crimson Tide’s NCAA runner-up golf team, competed in the eGolf Tour’s Southern Open one week prior to his start in Mississippi. Hamrick missed the cut at the tour’s flagship event with rounds of 73-71—144.
Other eGolf Tour players to make the cut at the True South Classic include Gary Christian (T13), Roberto Castro (T18), Luke Guthrie (T18), Russell Knox (T21), Brendon de Jonge (T31), Tommy Gainey (T31), Matt Bettencourt (T49), Eric Axley (T49), Jason Kokrak (T49), Kyle Thompson (T57), Kevin Kisner (T57), Mark Anderson (T64), Brendon Todd (T72) and Kyle Reifers (74). For complete results from Mississippi on PGATOUR.com, please click here.
• At the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, Keegan Bradley led all former eGolf Tour players with rounds of 71-72-68-73—284 and a T34 finish. Other eGolf Tour alums to make the weekend include two-time tour winner Justin Hicks (T45), recent PGA TOUR winner Ted Potter Jr. (T60) and longtime eGolf Tour member Garth Mulroy (T64). For complete results from the Open Championship on pga.com, please click here.