Nine (9) eGolf Tour Players, Including 2012 Member Morgan Hoffmann, Earn 2013 PGA TOUR Cards Via Top-25 Finishes on Web.com Tour Money List
By Stewart Moore
Charlotte, NC – October 29, 2012 – The 2012 Web.com Tour season came to a close on Sunday, and with it came 25 PGA TOUR cards for a well-deserving group of players who fought, scratched and clawed their way onto golf’s biggest stage in 2013. As with every year, the top 25 players on the Web.com Tour’s season-ending money list are awarded their PGA TOUR cards for the following year, and the eGolf Professional Tour was well represented with nine players punching their tickets to compete against the game’s best. The following eGolf Tour players (preceded by their money list standing) earned their PGA TOUR cards for 2013:
1. Casey Wittenberg
A former U.S. Amateur runner-up (2003) and eGolf Tour competitor in the mid-2000s, Wittenberg came into his own in 2012 with wins at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open and the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open en route to securing the top spot on the Web.com Tour money list with $433,453 in earnings. Wittenberg, who starred in college at powerhouse Oklahoma State, made 17 of 24 cuts on the year, and collected an impressive 12 top-25s.
2. Luke Guthrie
As of this past May, Guthrie was yet to turn professional, as the University of Illinois standout was in the midst of finishing up his college career as one of the Fighting Illini’s more decorated players. His “Hello World” moment came at the PGA TOUR’s FedEx St. Jude Classic in June, when rounds of 69-71-67-70—277 gave him a T19 finish in his first professional start. Just two weeks later, Guthrie competed at the eGolf Tour’s Spring Creek Classic, finishing T4 on the week at 8-under par – eight shots shy of winner Seamus Power. That start, however, would be his last, as Guthrie finished T5 at the John Deere Classic three weeks later, then posted back-to-back top-3 finishes on the Web.com Tour to earn temporary member status for the remainder of the year. In September, the Quincy, IL native skyrocketed up the Web.com Tour money list with back-to-back wins at the Albertsons Boise Open and the WNB Golf Classic. All told, Guthrie earned his PGA TOUR card in just 10 starts, posting seven top-10 finishes to rack up $410,593 for a second-place finish on the money list.
4. Luke List
Like Wittenberg, List was also a former U.S. Amateur runner-up (2004) prior to joining the eGolf Tour, where he competed as a member for a number of years. In 2008, List had arguably his best season on the eGolf Tour, making nine of nine cuts with five top-10 finishes en route to a 30th-place finish on the money list. In 2012, List did the vast majority of his damage in the Web.com Tour’s first eight events, posting a win at the South Georgia Classic and runner-up efforts at the Panama Claro Championship and the Stadion Classic at UGA to take the early lead on the tour’s money list. Following his torrid start, List posted just two more top-10s on the year, with the second being a T2 at the Midwest Classic in August. His $363,206 tally in year-long earnings put the former Vanderbilt University star at No. 4 on the Web.com Tour money list.
11. Justin Hicks
A two-time winner on the eGolf Tour, Hicks was the highest-ranked player on the Web.com Tour money list without a win, collecting $277,159 in earnings to finish at No. 11 for the year. The former University of Michigan standout was a study in consistency throughout the season, posting 14 top-25 finishes in 25 starts, including a season-best T2 effort at the Preferred Health Systems Wichita Open in June. Hicks’ time on the eGolf Tour was marked by stout consistency and his two wins, which came at the 2007 Sapona Open and the 2004 Verdict Ridge Invitational. Since his Sapona win, Hicks has split time between the PGA and Web.com Tours, and actually held a share of the 18-hole lead at the 2008 U.S. Open.
14. Andres Gonzales
Gonzales, who played the eGolf Tour in 2009, used a T2 at the season-opening Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship and a win at the Soboba Golf Classic in April on his way to a 14th-place finish on the Web.com Tour money list with $235,505 in earnings. Gonzales will be returning to the PGA TOUR for the first time since 2011, when he made nine of 21 cuts and collected two top-25 finishes.
16. Lee Williams
A longtime eGolf Tour member and former U.S. Walker Cup team member, Williams will be headed to the PGA TOUR in 2013 after posting a win at the Mexico Open and three additional top-10 finishes en route to a 16th-place finish on the money list with $223,468 in earnings. The former Auburn University star earned his 2012 Web.com Tour card via a T72 finish at Q-School last December, then capitalized on his opportunity 19 made cuts in 25 starts and eight top-25 finishes. Williams was a study in consistency from 2008 through 2010 on the eGolf Tour, making 31 of 36 cuts and collecting over $109,000 in earnings. His best year on tour came in 2009, where he grabbed three top-5 finishes including a playoff loss at the $300,000 season-ending Tour Championship. He earned $64,754 on tour that year, good for 14th on the tour’s money list.
17. Darron Stiles
Stiles, a Pinehurst, NC native, began his 2011 campaign as a member of the eGolf Tour, but quickly played his way up to the Web.com Tour via a T2 at the season-opening Panama Claro Championship. Four top-10s last year left Stiles at No. 33 on the tour’s money list, in turn locking up his 2012 Web.com Tour card. This past year, the former Florida Southern star played solid golf for the first half of the year, posting seven top-25 finishes in his first 12 starts – including two top-5 efforts. The latter half of the season would be somewhat of a roller coaster ride, as Stiles missed nine of his last 12 cuts, but added his fifth career Web.com Tour title with a win at the News Sentinel Open in August. That win gave Stiles the ominous title of all-time tour leading money winner, having collected $1,827,808 in prize money over his Web.com Tour career.
18. Brad Fritsch
Fritsch, a native of Alberta, Canada and 2011 eGolf Tour member, made 26 of a possible 27 starts on the 2012 Web.com Tour, collecting $212,168 for an 18th-place finish on the money list. In his 26 starts, the former Campbell University golfer posted seven top-10 finishes alongside a career-best T2 finish at the Mylan Classic in September. That finish pushed Fritsch inside the top 25 – a position he maintained with three top-10s in his last five starts, including a solo-fourth-place effort at the Chiquita Classic in Charlotte. The Holly Springs, NC resident made just six starts on the eGolf Tour last year, but posted two runner-up finishes at the Columbia Open and Spring Creek Classic, and added a T4 at the Donald Ross Championship to finish 24th on the season-ending money list.
19. Morgan Hoffmann
Like Guthrie, Hoffmann made the most of limited opportunities after beginning the 2012 season with zero Web.com Tour status. In his fourth and fifth starts of the year, Hoffmann posted T4 and T9 finishes at the United Leasing Championship and Utah Championship, respectively, to earn temporary member status for the remainder of the season. A playoff loss at the Chiquita Classic put $48,400 on Hoffmann’s year-long earnings, but it was a final-round charge at the Tour Championship that solidified his 2013 PGA TOUR card. The former Oklahoma State star entered the season-ending event at No. 31 on the money list, but opened his week with a 68-72-67—207 start that left him needing a Sunday charge in order to secure his card. An early eagle at the par-4 second jumpstarted a Sunday charge that included six birdies from Nos. 4 through 15 that vaulted him to 8-under for the day. A late bogey at the par-3 17th left Hoffmann with a final-round 64 and a T3 finish at 13-under par 271. The $58,000 payday moved him from No. 31 to No. 18 on the money list with $207,540, in turn solidifying his spot on the PGA TOUR next year. Hoffmann was a member of the eGolf Tour in 2012, and posted three top-25 finishes, including a season-best T15 effort at The Championship at Star Fort in September.