Weekend Update: Former eGolf Tour Member Joe Daley Wins Senior Players Championship
By Stewart Moore
Pittsburgh, PA – Former eGolf Tour member Joe Daley, who spent the better part of his life as the veritable definition of golf’s journeyman, changed his life during a five-hour stretch at venerable Fox Chapel Golf Club on Sunday afternoon. A final-round 68, capped off by a dramatic 20-foot birdie putt at the 72nd hole, gave Daley his first career Champions Tour title at the tour’s third major of the year – the Senior Players Championship.
Daley, a member of the eGolf Tour in 2010, opened his week in Western Pennsylvania with rounds of 66-64-68—198 to reach 12-under par, tied for the lead with 1989 British Open champion Mark Calcavecchia heading into Sunday’s final round.
An early birdie at the par-5 second moved Daley into sole possession of the lead at 13-under par. At the par-3 sixth, the Philadelphia native recorded his first bogey of the round to fall back to 12-under, briefly one shot behind Tom Lehman.
Lehman, playing just ahead of Daley, bogeyed the par-4 eighth to drop back into a tie alongside Daley at 12-under. That, as it turned out, would be as close as Lehman would come to winning for the rest of the afternoon.
Birdies by Daley at 9 and 10 vaulted the Scottsdale, AZ resident to 14-under par, and in clear control of the lead.
Pars on Nos. 11 through 16 kept Daley at 14-under par heading into the historic par-3 17th, site of one of golf’s scenic Biarritz green complexes. A bogey on 17 took Daley down to 13-under, just one shot ahead of Lehman, who had birdied his last two to post 12-under 268 in the clubhouse.
At the par-5 18th, Daley laid up and hit his third shot to 20 feet left of the pin. Needing just two putts to win, and facing a slick left-to-right putt, Daley watched in awe as the curling birdie try caught the right edge of the hole, and fell in for an improbable victory.
"And then (it) fell in the right side of the hole," Daley said. "It doesn't get any better than that for me."
The final-round 68 gave Daley a 14-under total and a two-shot win over Lehman, the 1996 British Open champion. More importantly, the win gave Daley a one-year exemption on the Champions Tour, and a hall pass to get out of the weekly Monday qualifiers that routinely determined his fate.
"It gets me in next week, which I'm playing next week, so that's big for me instead of going to Monday qualifying," Daley said. "And it just opens up other opportunities to go out and play and prove how good I can be and compete against these guys because these guys can play."
Playing the role of underdog throughout the week, Daley received support and well wishes from nearly everyone in his home state. After the birdie putt fell on 18, Daley received high fives from his playing partners, and was met with a bottle of champagne from Champions Tour star (and former journeyman himself) Michael Allen.
A number of friends and family from the greater Philadelphia area drove to Pittsburgh to support Daley, who was clearly one of their own.
"It was good karma for me, man," he said. "Everybody here has been great. I root for the Pittsburgh teams when the Eagles and the Flyers aren't doin' so good, so, yeah, it's all good. I'm a fellow Pennsylvanian."
Daley spent most of his years on the Nationwide Tour, racking up 272 starts throughout his career, as well as two wins. The PGA TOUR, however, proved to be more elusive, as Daley posted just 59 career starts, and was left out one year when his ball infamously bounced back out of a cup at Q-School, causing him to miss his card by one shot.
In 2010, Daley made 10 starts as a member of the eGolf Tour, posting earnings of $29,001 thanks in part to two top-5 finishes in his first three starts on the year. He went on to finish 30th on the money list that year.
After turning 50 in October of 2010, Daley focused his efforts on his upcoming Champions Tour career. In 2011, Daley made just two starts on the eGolf Tour, posting a T5 finish at the tour’s season-opening Swiftwick Shootout at Palmetto Hall. In that event’s final round, Daley birdied two of his first six holes to reach 9-under par and move within one shot of leader Corey Nagy, but suffered a late double-bogey on the par-4 14th to fall out of title contention.
For complete results from the Senior Players Championship on PGATOUR.com, please click here.
Scott Posts Career-Best Third-Place Finish at Web.com Tour’s United Leasing Championship
At the Web.com Tour’s inaugural United Leasing Championship in Newburgh, IN, two-time eGolf Tour winner Richard Scott of Canada posted rounds of 70-72-65-71—278 for a career-best third-place finish.
Scott, who began the final round two shots off the lead and tied for second, actually double-bogeyed the par-4 first on Sunday, but recovered nicely with birdies on Nos. 7, 8 and 9 to turn at 1-under 35. A bogey at the par-4 10th slowed his mid-round momentum, but birdies at 15 and 18 more than made up for it, giving the former University of Georgia star a closing 71 and solo-third place at 10-under par.
The finish, and check for $37,400, moved Scott from No. 48 to No. 27 on the Web.com Tour money list. The top 25 players on the season-ending money list will receive their 2013 PGA TOUR cards.
Scott, a three-time winner of the prestigious Canadian Amateur, won the eGolf Tour’s Championship at Walnut Creek in the fall of 2007, and notched his second win at the tour’s Championship at St. James Plantation in April of 2010. In 44 career starts on the eGolf Tour, Scott amassed over $125,000 in earnings.
Current eGolf Tour Morgan Hoffman, as well as former eGolf Tour member Derek Fathauer, finished tied for fourth at 9-under 279 on the week.
Hoffman has two top-25s on the eGolf Tour this year, including a career-best T16 finish at the Irish Creek Classic in March.
Making his fourth Web.com Tour start of the year, Hoffman overcame a double-bogey at the par-3 seventh on Sunday with birdies on Nos. 8, 12, 14 and 15 to reach 11-under for the week, then just one behind eventual winner Peter Tomasulo.
However, Hoffman bogeyed 16 and 18 to fall from 11-under to 9-under, and back into a five-way tie for fourth place. The former Oklahoma State star has $27,735 in earnings on the year, roughly $16,000 short of the amount needed to secure special member status for the remainder of 2012.
Fathauer, a member of the eGolf Tour in 2010 and 2011, also reached 11-under at one point on Sunday, posting birdies at Nos. 7, 9 and 10 to get within shouting distance of Tomasulo. Much like Hoffman, Fathauer struggled late with bogeys at 12, 13 and 17 en route to a final-round 71.
The finish marked his second top-10 of the year, and moved the former PGA TOUR member from No. 67 to No. 45 on the tour’s money list with $56,059 in earnings.
Other eGolf Tour members to make the cut at Victoria National Golf Club include Justin Hicks (T9), Scott Parel (T11), Aron Price (T16), Will MacKenzie (T16), Jamie Lovemark (T21), Aaron Goldberg (T21), Andres Gonzales (T26), Jeff Curl (T31), Luke List (T31), Andy Bare (T35), Lee Williams (T40), Darron Stiles (T40), Nate Smith (T49), Ben Martin (T51), Ted Potter (T51), Philip Pettitt (T54) and Bryan DeCorso (61). For full-field results from the United Leasing Championship on PGATOUR.com, please click here.
• At the PGA TOUR’s AT&T National, former eGolf Tour winner Billy Hurley stole the non-Tiger show with rounds of 69-73-66-72—280 en route to a career-best T4 finish. Hurley, an eGolf Tour member in 2010 and 2011, was playing just down the road from Annapolis, MD, where he starred in college as a member of the Naval Academy’s golf team. After turning professional, Hurley picked up his first pro win at the eGolf Tour’s Cedarwood Classic in September of 2006, prior to serving overseas for a two-year period. On Sunday at Congressional Country Club, Hurley birdied Nos. 7 and 9 to reach 6-under par and solo-third place, but posted three bogeys on his closing nine to finish with a 1-over 72. The finish came on the heels of Hurley’s sixth made cut of his rookie season on TOUR, and pushed the Leesburg, VA native up to No. 135 on the money list with $341,010 in earnings. eGolf Tour players Brian Harman, John Mallinger and Brendon de Jonge each finished T11 on the week, rounding out the tour’s representation inside the top 15. Harman, a winner on the 2010 eGolf Tour and member in 2010 and 2011, matched Adam Scott for low final round with a 4-under 67 that moved him up 25 spots into a tie for 11th. The finish marked Harman’s sixth top-25 in his rookie season on TOUR. For de Jonge, Sunday’s finish was a disappointment, as the Zimbabwe native entered the day in sole possession of the lead at 7-under 206. Playing alongside eventual winner Tiger Woods, de Jonge failed to record a single bogey on Sunday, posting six bogeys – including four on Nos. 8, 9, 11 and 12 – to close with a 6-over 77. Other eGolf Tour players to make the cut in Cromwell, CT include Daniel Summerhays (T17), Roberto Castro (T29), Martin Flores (T34), Cameron Tringale (T44), Will Claxton (T44), Blake Adams (T49), William McGirt (T49), Kevin Chappell (T58) and Brendon Todd (72). For complete results from the AT&T National on PGATOUR.com, please click here.