Curtis Luck and Hannah Green face an important few weeks as they bid to secure their places on the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour respectively for next season.
Luck will play in the four-tournament Web.com Tour Finals where the top-25 money earners during that period will earn playing privileges onto next season’s PGA Tour.
For Green the equation is more straight-forward – she needs to finish inside the top 10 of the second-tier Symetra Tour money list with six tournaments left to play.
Here we take a look at what the two professional rookies need to do in order to secure a place at the top table of golf in the United States for next season.
The aim: To secure a place on the LPGA Tour for next season where she would join fellow West Aussie Minjee Lee.
How can she do that: Finish inside the top 10 of the Symetra Tour’s money list. Green would also earn an immediate place if she won two events during the final six weeks.
Is that likely: Green is well-placed to earn her LPGA Tour card after an outstanding first season as a professional. The teenage Mount Lawley member sits fifth on the money list thanks to a hugely consistent year that has seen her win the Sara Bay Classic and claim eight top-10 finishes. She has earned $US57,904 this year, which is around $18,000 clear of the 11th placed player on the money list. That is a sizeable gap which can be put into context by the fact that at the most recent event first place won $15,000, while the 10th-placed finishers took home $1,944.
Who is she up against: Green knows her rivals well having played alongside them all season. Denmark’s Nanna Koerstz Madsen, a good friend of Green’s, tops the money list despite having played four fewer events than anyone else inside the top-10. While Green is well placed she said during her trip home that she is taking nothing for granted with some of the players below her finding form.
Form: Green has finished inside the top-10 in six of her past eight events – a remarkable feat given she has travelled from event to event by car, has lived out of a suitcase and has never seen the courses before. The final six events are back-to-back but Green is well rested after spending the past three weeks back in Perth before flying back to the US last Sunday.
Next up: Green tees it up at the Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge in South Dakota just after midnight tonight (Perth time).
The aim: To stamp his PGA Tour card for the first time after a whirlwind 12 months that has seen the former world number one amateur impress in limited starts on the tour this season.
How can he do that: The qualification guidelines are complex, but in basic terms Luck must aim to finish inside the top 25 money earners during the four-event Web.com Tour Finals. The top 25 from the Web.com Tour season have already earned playing rights to the PGA Tour, with another 25 cards to be handed out to the players who earn the most cumulative money during the Finals. That’s where Luck comes in. Whoever finishes top of the Finals money list will be fully exempt. Where you rank below that will determine how many events you will play on the PGA Tour.
Is that likely: It will be tough but Luck has shown since turning professional that he is comfortable in the company of the best players in the world. The Cottesloe member earned his place in the Web.com Tour Finals thanks to his performances on the PGA Tour, highlighted by a T5 finish at the Quicken Loans National in early July.
Who is he up against: The field is thick with talent and there’s obviously plenty to play for. The top 75 from the Web.com Tour remain in the field which is supplemented by the players that finished from 126th to 200th on the PGA Tour FedEx Cup standings. They will all be gunning to reclaim their playing rights and with the likes of Hunter Mahan – a six-time PGA Tour winner – amongst them there will be little room for error. Luck is joined by eight other Australians in the Finals including Stuart Appleby and Scott Hend.
Form: Luck will take much confidence from a year in which he has ably made the step into the professional ranks. He handled the spotlight of The Masters like a seasoned pro as he made the cut and came tantalisingly close to winning the Low Amateur. The 21-year-old turned professional immediately after and has made six cuts in his 10 events since, including his T5 at the Quicken Loans.
Next up: Luck begins the Web.com Tour finals at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship in Columbus, Ohio at around 12.30am tonight. The course is regarded as one of the toughest tests on tour.
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