Brandon Brown earns Player of the Year; Randolph, Looper named Co-Rookies of the Year
Chas Narramore tabbed Most Improved; Mark Silvers takes Golf Achievement Award
Myrtle Beach, S.C. – October 1, 2012 – If you earn a victory on the NGA TOUR, your name will go in the annuals alongside some great golfers. But if you earn a season-long award on the NGA TOUR, your name will be mentioned with some of the best golfers in the world.
And the fact was not lost on Brandon Brown, who was named 2012 NGA TOUR Player of the Year.
“When I got the text, I was sitting there watching the Ryder Cup,” said Brown, a six-time NGA TOUR winner. “I was thinking about the guys that played on the NGA TOUR and now they’re on the Ryder Cup team. It’s great to have the Player of the Year award on my resume, and hopefully I can follow in their footsteps.”
Former NGA POY Zach Johnson went 3-0-0 for the U.S. Ryder Cup team this year, while 2009 Rookie of the Year runner-up Keegan Bradley went 3-0-1. Though the Ryder Cup team may seem like a stretch, if Brown continues his solid play, it may be more reality than fantasy, considering two of the last three POY winners, Ted Potter Jr. and Michael Thompson, will be playing on the PGA TOUR in 2013.
In 2012, the Eastern Kentucky alumnus earned his sixth NGA TOUR victory and finished T4 or better 10 times in 14 events. Brown also made the cut in every event, finished outside the top 15 just once and earned a Tour-high $115,085. In addition, the Shelbyville, Ky., golfer picked up his first PGA TOUR paycheck in the Reno-Tahoe Open, after finishing 62nd playing on an NGA TOUR event exemption.
Making Brown’s season more impressive is the fact that he shrugged off a pair of late-season disappointments in 2011 and remained focused for the entirety of the 2012 to capture the coveted award.
“I was hoping to win the Player of the Year award last year. It was close, but it didn’t work out,” said Brown, who also missed the final stage of PGA TOUR Q-School by a single stroke in 2011. “I came back out here this year with the same goals. I didn’t win as many times as I did last year, but I played better this year. I was more consistent and around the lead more times this season. I’m actually a better player this year. Winning this award gives me a lot of confidence, and I can see that the hard work has paid off with what I’ve done over the last two years.”
While winning the Player of the Year award allows Brown’s name to be mentioned with the likes of Jeff Corr, Michael Thompson, Ted Potter Jr., Casey Wittenberg, David Skinns, Lee Janzen, Chad Campbell and Zach Johnson, being named Rookie of the Year on the NGA TOUR also thrusts one into the upper echelon of the golfing hierarchy.
Past winners include Web.com Tour members Philip Pettitt and Will Wilcox, PGA TOUR members Russell Knox, Chad Collins and Vaughn Taylor and European Tour member Gareth Maybin. And given the resumes of 2012 NGA TOUR Co-Rookies of the Year, Ken Looper and Jonathan Randolph, the lineage should continue.
After earning two top-five finishes, four top-10 finishes and six top-20 finishes as a senior at LSU in 2011, Looper of Mandeville, La., earned a victory on the Bridgestone Winter Series, one on the Pro Series and four top-10s in his rookie season on the NGA TOUR to grab a share of the Rookie of the Year award.
“It’s exciting to be mentioned with guys like that,” said Looper. “Winning this award makes me feel really good. I haven’t had a chance to play on the Web.com Tour to see where I stack up against those guys, but to know that I’m in that category makes me feel real good going forward.”
“I’m real excited,” said Randolph. “This award was a stepping stone for a lot of exceptional golfers and to be mentioned in their company is great.”
And if Randolph keeps up his torrid streak, he’ll be playing alongside them sooner than later.
Though he got off to a sluggish start in 2012, Randolph, a 2010 All-Nicklaus team member and 2010 All-American from Ole Miss, won his last two starts on the NGA TOUR Pro Series to join Looper as Co-Rookie of the Year.
“Being my first year out here, this is real gratifying, knowing that I was one of the best of the young guys,” said Randolph of Brandon, Miss. “It’s also a big relief to know that all the hard work is paying off. I’ve need to keep pushing, keep winning and maybe the Player of the Year award is next.”
If current NGA TOUR member Chas Narramore follows the lead of current PGA TOUR member Michael Thompson, who won the Most Improved and POY awards on the NGA TOUR, his name could also be in the Player of the Year race next season.
Narramore, a former Middle Tennessee State standout from Kingston, Tenn., made 13 of 16 cuts, earned four top-10s, including his first NGA TOUR victory, en route being named the 2012 NGA TOUR Most Improved Player.
“This was a great year for me, especially with the amount of competition on this tour,” said Narramore. “It was my second full year of professional golf and you try to get better each year. My caddie was a big part of my success this season, too. It’s reassuring to know that I’m on the right track. All the guys that won this award before came here and did the same thing. They got better.”
In addition to Thompson, former NGA Most Improved award winners Tommy Biershenk and Joe Affrunti are also PGA TOUR members.
Mark Silvers picked up the final award of the season handed out by the NGA TOUR. The former University of South Carolina stalwart earned the NGA TOUR Golf Achievement award, given to the player that best exemplifies a professional golfer both on and off the course.
“It’s an incredible honor,” said Silvers of Savannah, Ga. “I understand what this tour means – it’s the best developmental tour in the country – and to have that award given to me is a great feeling. Golf is one of those sports that can be incredibly humbling. Everybody is going to have good days and bad, but you have to look at the game in the big picture. You should treat the other guys trying to get to their dreams the way you would want to be treated as well.”
The NGA Pro Golf Tour is the No. 3 Men’s Professional Golf Tour in the United States after the PGA and Web.com Tours and is the No. 1 recommended developmental tour by more PGA and Web.com Tour Professionals.
The NGA has helped hundreds of professionals acquire their PGA TOUR, Euro, Web.com, and Champions Tour cards. In fact, NGA alumni have won an incredible Fifteen (15) “Major” Championships.
NGA alumni include: 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson; 2011 PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley; 2010 PGA TOUR Player of the Year and 2003 US Open Champion Jim Furyk; 2009 British Open Champion Stewart Cink; 2009 U.S. Open Champion Lucas Glover; 2007 Masters Champion Zach Johnson; 2003 PGA Champion Shaun Micheel; 2003 British Open Champion Ben Curtis; two-time U.S. Open Champion Lee Janzen; British Open and PGA Champion John Daly; British Open Champion Tom Lehman; PGA Champion David Toms; 2003 Tour Championship Winner Chad Campbell; 2010 NGA Player of the Year Michael Thompson; 2012 PGA TOUR winners Mark Wilson, George McNeill, Ted Potter Jr., Scott Stallings and Scott Piercy.
At this year’s PGA Tour Qualifying School, 52% of those earning full exempt status on the PGA TOUR and 67% of those earning full exempt status on the Web.com Tour were past NGA Professionals. Another 16 NGA Professionals advanced to the PGA TOUR for 2012 by finishing inside the Top 25 on the Web.com Tour money list, including 2011 NGA members Ted Potter Jr., Russell Knox and Billy Hurley III.
The NGA Pro Golf Tour, established in 1988, predates the Web.com Tour as the longest running developmental tour in golf. In 2012, the NGA TOUR became the “Official Partner of the 2012 Reno-Tahoe Open” and secured one PGA TOUR and six Web.com Tour event exemptions for its members, the most in developmental golf.
For more information on the NGA or the NGA Pro Golf Tour, please visit our website at www.NGATOUR.com or contact our Tour Office at (800) 992-8748.