Top Rookies ready for 2013 NGA TOUR season
Barber highlights a bumper crop of newcomers
Myrtle Beach, SC – February 13, 2013 – With only a limited number of positions available on the Web.com and PGA Tours each year, it leaves those professionals who are not fully exempt on those two major tours looking for the next best option. For the last 25 years, the NGA Pro Golf Tour has been that place – and the tradition continues in 2013. With over 70 rookies signed up for the 2013 Pro Series, the NGA TOUR continues to solidify itself as the No. 1 developmental tour in the country.
In addition to a wide array of returning veterans, the 2013 season will also feature plenty of new blood on the NGA Pro Golf Tour. Below is a listing of just a few of the over 70 NGA Pro Golf Tour rookies that you will want to keep an eye on throughout the upcoming 2013 Pro Series season as they begin their quest to secure a PGA Tour card and, one day, follow in the footsteps of NGA alums like Keegan Bradley, Scott Stallings, Gary Woodland, Ted Potter and hundreds of others by playing on the PGA Tour.
Blayne Barber (Lake City, Fla.)- Barber will be competing in his first full season on the NGA TOUR. After graduating from Auburn in 2012, Barber made some noise midseason on the NGA TOUR, where he won four events in his first nine starts on tour. In his final season at Auburn, Barber was a 2012 Division I PING First-Team All-American, 2012 NCAA All-Southeast Regional Team selection, 2012 First Team All-SEC team member, 2012 All-Nicklaus Team Honoree, and 2012 Ben Hogan Award Semifinalist. While his much-anticipated debut on the NGA TOUR is scheduled for Killearn Country Club in late February, Barber will be playing in the PGA TOUR’s Northern Trust Open this week after Monday qualifying.
Chris Brant (Edwardsville, Ill.) – Brant played his college golf at Iowa, where he was a PING All-Region honoree and academic All-Big Ten team member. As a Hawkeye, Brant placed tied for 89th at NCAA Championships and finished T10 at the Big Ten Championships, earning second team All-Big Ten honors.
Matthew Broome (Jupiter, Fla.) – Broome was an integral part of the Furman golf team before joining the NGA TOUR. As a Paladin, Broome was the team MVP in 2011 and won the Springhill Suites Intercollegiate tournament. In addition, Broome competed in the 2011 U.S. Amateur.
Billy Brozovich (Greenville, Miss.)- Brozovich will be following in the footsteps NGA standout Jonathan Randolph when he moves from Ole Miss to the NGA TOUR in 2012. As a senior at Ole Miss, Brozovich was third on the team in stroke average, tied for third at the Mason Rudolph Championship and matched his career-low round with a 65 at the season-opening Sam Hall Intercollegiate.
Wesley Bryan (Columbia, S.C.) – After a standout career at South Carolina, Bryan will follow his brother, George, onto the NGA TOUR. At USC, Bryan was named the 2012 Team MVP as a senior. Other accolades include: 2010 PING All-Southeast Region, 2010 All-SEC Second Team, 2009 PING All-Southeast Region and 2009 All-SEC Freshman Team.
Daniel Charen (Langhorne, Pa.) – Charen is one of three Ohio State products that will be joining the NGA TOUR in 2012. As a Buckeye, Charen received the team’s Buckeye Power Club award for his hard work in training off the course and in the weight room. Charen also won the Corwin A. Fergus Memorial Award in 2012 as well as being named to the Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar and Academic All-Big Ten squads.
M.J. Daffue (Beaumont, Texas) – Daffue will be competing in his first full season on the NGA TOUR after playing collegiately at Lamar University. At Lamar, Daffue was named to the Division I PING All-Central Region Team. Daffue won three individual titles during his senior season and five in his career as a Cardinal. A native of Pretoria, South Africa, Daffue was also named First-Team All-Southland Conference.
Tyler Ekenberg (Apple Valley, Minn.) – Ekenberg was a former NJCAA (National Junior College) All-American before moving to North Alabama golf team. Ekenberg helped UNA win the Gulf South Conference title and earned a spot on the all-tournament team. Ekenberg also qualified for the 87th U.S. Public Links championship in 2012.
Matt Eschenburg (The Woodlands, Texas) – Eschenburg will continue the strong presence of Texans on the NGA TOUR in 2012. Eschenburg earned three letters at the University of Houston, picked up three top 5s and five top 20s during his tenure at Houston. Eschenburg’s career-best (T4) came in the Huskey invitational in 2010.
Jonathan Fly (Memphis, Tenn.) – Fly was the team captain of the 2012 University of Memphis golf team, which advanced to the NCAA Championships. As a Tiger, Fly was 2012 All-Conference USA First Team selection, a 2012 C-USA All-Tournament Team member and the 2011 C-USA Individual Champion. As a senior, Fly posted five top-5 individual finishes during the spring season, including earning medalist honors with back-to-back 68s at the BancorpSouth Intercollegiate.
Wesley Graham (Port Orange, Fla.) – Graham played his collegiate golf at Florida State University, where he enjoyed an outstanding career during which he helped lead the Seminoles to four NCAA Regional Championships and two NCAA Championship Finals appearances and into the national rankings during each of the four years of his career. Graham finished in a tie for second place in the individual standings at the 2010 NCAA Central Regional Championship and finished in sixth place in the individual standings at the 2012 NCAA Southwest Regional Championships.
Hunter Green (Evensville, Tenn.) – Green is another product of the Middle Tennessee State University professional golfer production line. As a Blue Raider, Green was named All-SBC in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Green was also a 2010, 2011, and 2012 NCAA participant. Green was also named an All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
Mitchell Gregson (Waterloo, Ill.) – Gregson joins the NGA TOUR after staring at Kansas State in college. Gregson won twice during his collegiate career at K-State. However, his biggest win came over the summer when Gregson outlasted NGA alum and current PGA star Stcott Langley to win the Metropolitan Open Championship.
Stephan Jaeger (Chattanooga, Tenn.) – Jaeger is a product of the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga. As a Moc, Jaeger was named 2012 First Team PING All-American and Second Team Golfweek All-American. Jaeger won the 2011 LSU National Invitational, 2011 Golfweek Conference Challenge, 2012 SoCon Championship and 2012 NCAA Bowling Green Regional during his tenure in Chattanooga. In addition, he became the first Mocs golfer to win an NCAA postseason event and the only 3-time Southern Conference Player of the Year (2010, 2011, 2012).
Ben Klaus (Edmond, Okla.) – Klaus played one season at Vanderbilt before returning home to play at Oklahoma. Klaus played three seasons for the Sooners, earning three top-10 finishes, four top 20s and best finish of second at the UTSA/Oak Hills Invitational (fall 2010).
Travis Klutts (Kiowa, Texas) – Klutts joins the NGA TOUR after playing his collegiate golf at Midwestern State University, where he was named to the All-Lone Star Conference First Team three times during his tenure as a Mustang. Klutts suffered a shoulder injury as a senior, but prior to being sidelined he recorded seven par-or-better rounds in 11 starts, including a season-best score of 67 at the Charles Coody West Texas Intercollegiate.
Kyle Kopsick (Jupiter, Fla.) – Kopsick continues the lineage of former Auburn Tigers furthering their careers on the NGA TOUR. After attending high school at The Pendleton School in Bradenton, Fla., Kopsick went on to play golf at Auburn, where he competed against some of the country’s best players for four seasons. Kopsick played 32 tournaments in his first three seasons. He won the Gary Koch Invitational in 2009 and was named to the all-SEC second team a year later.
Aaron Lamb (Seattle, Wash.) – Like NGA TOUR veteran and Naval Academy standout Billy Hurley, Lamb comes to the NGA TOUR after serving his country in the United States Air Force. Lamb has played on the Gateway Tour and competed on the Bridgestone Winter Series earlier this season.
Will McCurdy (Auburn, Ala.) – McCurdy is another Auburn Tiger looking to make his mark on the NGA TOUR. McCurdy earned spots on the 2012 NCAA All-Southeast Regional Team 2012 and the Second Team All-SEC roster as a senior at Auburn. As a senior, McCurdy finished third on the team in scoring and fourth on the team for rounds at par or better with 13 and sub-par rounds at nine.
Alex Redfield (Powell, Ohio) – Redfield joins the NGA TOUR after a stellar career at Ohio State. As a senior, Redfield picked up his first individual victory of his college career at the Marshall Invitational (Sept. 12-13) and was named 2012 PING All-Midwest Region Team.
Alex Rowland (Houston, Miss.) – Rowland was a two-year letter winner at Itawamba Community College, where he ended his junior college career with a tie for third at the Junior College National Championship and received the Hubert Tucker award for low scoring average in his final season at ICC. Rowland spent the rest of his colligate career at Mississippi State, where he became the first Bulldog to earn an individual title since 2009 when he claimed a share of the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate title in 2012.
Sam Ryder (Longwood, Fla.) – Ryder comes to the NGA TOUR after a decorated college career at Stetson University. Ryder was named to the All-Atlantic Sun Second Team in his sophomore and junior seasons before picking up First-Team All-Atlantic Sun honors in his senior season, when he won the Atlantic Sun Conference men’s golf championship.
Richard Schembechler (Massillion, Ohio) – Schembechler joins the NGA TOUR after being a stalwart at Malone University. He will have some company in the form of Justin Lower, a childhood friend and former teammate, as he navigates his rookie season. At Malone, Schembechler was selected as NAIA All-American and finished as the low amateur in the 2011 Ohio Open.
Brad Schneider (Valrico, Fla.) – Schneider will be the second David Toms Award winner to be playing on the NGA TOUR, joining Billy Shida. After recovering from a horrible leg injury, Schneider played his college golf at the University of Central Florida, where he was one of the most successful male athletes in school history. He led UCF to three Conference USA titles, four NCAA regional appearances and one NCAA national championship appearance. He finished in the top five at five different events his senior season and was named to the All-Conference USA First Team and the PING All-Southeast Region Team.
Brad Simons (Mountain Home, Ark.) – Simons is the latest product of Middle Tennessee State University to move to the NGA TOUR, joining former Blue Raiders Chas Narramore, Rick Cochran, Kent Bulle and Jason Millard. As a junior golfer, Simons was No. 1-ranked prospect in Arkansas. As a senior at MTSU, earned two top-10 finishes and posted six of 19 rounds at par or better.
Jamie Sindelar (Horseheads, N.Y.) – Jamie is the son of seven-time PGA TOUR winner Joey Sindelar, who currently competes on the Champions Tour. Like his father, Jamie played his college golf at Ohio State University, where he was named Academic All-Big Ten (2010, 2012) and Ohio State Scholar-Athlete (2010, 2012). Jamie was teammates with NGA rookie Alex Redfield at Ohio State.
Kyle Smell (Overland Park, Kan.) – Smell competed at Kansas State before joining the NGA TOUR. At K-State, Smell posted career-lows of: 18-Holes: 67 (2007 Pacific Invitational); 36-Holes: 138(2007 Pacific Invitational); 54-Holes: 211 (2011 Shocker Classic); and Finish: T8th (2007 Kansas Invitational, 2010 Kansas Invitational). In addition, Smell won the 2012 Kansas Amateur.
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.
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.