Persons and Hoffmann Notch Top-10 Finishes at Web.com Tour’s Neediest Kids Championship
By Stewart Moore
Potomac, MD – At the Web.com Tour’s Neediest Kids Championship, eGolf Tour player Josh Persons – fresh off a career-best third-place effort at the tour’s Olde Sycamore Open just one week prior – took the 54-hole lead into Sunday’s final round at TPC Potomac, but wound up finishing T8 on the week, one of 10 eGolf Tour players to notch top-25 finishes.
Persons entered the event’s Monday qualifier on the heels of a career-best week at Olde Sycamore, where rounds of 69-71-63—203 left the Fargo, North Dakota native in solo-third place. A 64 on Monday further continued his solid play, and left Persons with a spot at the Neediest Kids Championship – his second career start on the Web.com Tour.
An opening-round 65 gave Persons a share of the day-one lead, while a second-round 68 left him one shot back of David Lingmerth entering Saturday’s third round.
On Saturday, Persons’ putter came alive with a number of clutch saves amidst cold and blustery conditions that left the newly-redesigned TPC Potomac course playing much like a major championship venue.
Three birdies in his first four holes immediately vaulted Persons into the lead and allowed the former University of Minnesota golfer to turn at 3-under 32, and 10-under for the event. A bogey at the par-5 10th dropped him to 9-under, while a 7-foot bogey save at the tough par-4 15th left him at 8-under, where he eventually finished after notching pars on each of his final three holes for a 1-under 69. At 8-under 202, Persons took a one-shot lead over good friend Tom Hoge into Sunday’s final round, hoping for a breakthrough win.
The final round, however, would prove to be cruel to Persons, who pared his first five holes before recording a double-bogey at the par-4 sixth to fall to 2-over on the day. Follow-up bogeys on Nos. 7, 8, 10 and 12 had the 54-hole leader at 6-over on the day, and well out of contention. A birdie at the drive-able par-4 14th took him back to 5-over, but late bogeys at 16 and 18 left Persons with a final-round 77, and a 1-under 279 total – seven shots back of winner Lingmerth.
The top-10 finish netted Persons a spot in this week’s Miccosukee Championship in Miami, Florida – a nice prize for a player who just one week prior had been contemplating a retirement from the game. After a first-round 69 at Olde Sycamore, Persons told eGolf Tour officials that he was tiring of the travel and grind associated with life on the developmental tour circuit.
A second-round 71 in that event kept Persons’ interest, but it was a final-round 63 that ignited his stellar play. After waking up under the weather, Persons barely made it through nine holes of the final round before asking a volunteer to deliver a sandwich to him on the closing nine so that he could maintain enough energy to compete. A four-birdie back nine left Persons with a career-best 9-under effort in the final round, which in turn gave him a solo-third-place finish on the week.
Current eGolf Tour member Morgan Hoffmann, just one week removed from a playoff loss at the Chiquita Classic, parlayed rounds of 69-69-72-68—278 into a T6 finish, in turn moving him from No. 43 to No. 34 on the tour’s money list with $130,220 in earnings.
Hoffmann, a college star at powerhouse Oklahoma State University, began the year with zero status and competing on the eGolf Tour, but changed his outlook with a T4 finish at the United Leasing Championship in July. A T9 at the following week’s Utah Championship pushed him closer to temporary member status – which he later attained thanks in part to a sixth-place effort at the WNB Golf Classic last month.
All told, Hoffmann has amassed an impressive five top-10 finishes in just 10 Web.com Tour starts on the year. Hoffmann is just three weeks removed from posting a season-best T15 finish on the eGolf Tour at the inaugural Championship at Star Fort. All told, he made five starts total on the eGolf Tour in 2012, recording three top-20 finishes and two missed cuts.
Other eGolf Tour players to make the cut at TPC Potomac include Casey Wittenberg (2), Philip Pettitt Jr. (T3), Chris Wilson (5), Reid Edstrom (T8), Luke List (T13), Rob Oppenheim (15), Camilo Benedetti (T16), Brad Fritsch (T16), Nick Flanagan (T25), James Nitties (T30), Jamie Lovemark (T30), Scott Parel (T30), Aaron Goldberg (T38), Jeff Curl (T38), Wes Roach (T41), Chris Epperson (T41), Brice Garnett (T41), Lee Bedford (T46), Fabian Gomez (T52), Steve LeBrun (T52), Aron Price (T59) and Jin Park (T59). For complete results from the Neediest Kids Championship on PGATOUR.com, please click here.
• At the PGA TOUR’s Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, former eGolf Tour player Brendon de Jonge posted rounds of 62-66-66-67—261 for a career-best runner-up finish. The former Virginia Tech star entered Sunday’s final round with a share of the lead at 19-under par, and remained that way alongside fellow co-leader Ryan Moore through 13 holes of the final round, with both players standing at 23-under. A late birdie by Moore at the par-5 16th, however, vaulted the former U.S. Amateur champion to 23-under for the week, in turn allowing him to solidify a one-shot victory over de Jonge. The runner-up marked the third top-10 for de Jonge on the year, and pushed his season-long earnings to $1,800,464. Blake Adams, winner of the eGolf Tour’s 2007 Columbia Open, posted rounds of 65-70-68-68—271 for a T8 finish. The top-10 was Adams’ third of the year, and first since a T7 effort at the PGA Championship in August. Since missing eight of his first 14 cuts on the year, Adams has rebounded with some of the most consistent play of his career, having made the weekend in 14 of 16 events. Former eGolf Tour player Jason Bohn matched Adams with a T8 of his own in Las Vegas, thanks to rounds of 71-66-64-70—271. Other eGolf Tour players to make the cut at TPC Summerlin include Russell Knox (T13), John Mallinger (T22), Josh Teater (T22), Edward Loar (T36), Daniel Summerhays (T36), Chris Kirk (T36), Scott Brown (T46), David Mathis (T46), Tommy Biershenk (T46), Marc Turnesa (T46), Will Claxton (T61), Matt Bettencourt (T64), Roberto Castro (T66), Gary Christian (T68) and Hunter Hamrick (70). For complete results from the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on PGATOUR.com, please click here.