To play the US PGA Tour these days, you have little choice but to go through the Web .com Tour. For three Aussies and three Kiwis, that road starts on Thursday at the Final Qualifying Stage at Chandler, Arizona.
Qualifying for Final Stage brings with it automatic membership of the Web .com Tour, but playing opportunities in 2019 will be very much determined by how each of the 135 players taking part fare over four pressure-packed rounds.
The medallist at Final Stage (and ties) will receive fully exempt status for the 2019 Web .com Tour regular season, while those who finish second to 10th will receive exempt status for the first 12 events of the season and subject to subsequent reshuffles every four events. Those who finish between 11th and 40th (and ties) will receive exempt status for the first eight events of the Web .com Tour season and will also be subject to subsequent reshuffles.
Three Australians and three Kiwis will tee it up at Whirlwind Golf Club and have qualified for Final Stage in a variety of different ways.
Perth’s Min Woo Lee [above] is one of only three amateurs in the field, having come through both First and Second Stage of Q-School, while Jamie Arnold gets the chance to improve his standing after finishing 81st on the 2018 regular season moneylist.
Two top-five finishes on Canada’s Mackenzie Tour saw Brett Coletta finish 22nd on the moneylist, the top 25 earning exemption through to Second Stage where he was able to progress. In two weeks back in Australia, Coletta tied for 12th at the AV Jennings NSW Open and tied for 40th at the Australian Open, keeping his game in good shape prior to heading to Arizona.
Like Coletta, New Zealand’s Steven Alker advanced through Second Stage at Bear Creek Golf Club in California while Tim Wilkinson earned his place at Final Stage after finishing tied for eighth in Second Stage qualifying at Plantation Reserve in Florida.
Not yet a year in to his professional career, another Kiwi in Nick Voke owes his elevation to Web .com Tour status to the PGA Tour–China Tour and an extraordinary run of form. In just six events, Voke recorded three wins and two further top-four finishes to claim fourth spot on the Order of Merit and one of five Web .com Tour cards on offer, not to mention the PGA Tour–China award for ‘Cinderella Story of the Year’.