Myrtle Beach, SC August 20, 2013 – While there are no guarantees in golf, being named the NGA TOUR Player of the Year virtually assures a career promotion in the near future for the recipient.
Since 2000, every player that has earned the coveted award has moved up to play at the next level, including PGA TOUR winners Michael Thompson (2010), Ted Potter Jr. (2009), Zach Johnson (2001) and Chad Campbell (2000).
This week, Eagle’s Landing Country Club, a Tom Fazio-designed championship layout in Stockbridge, Ga., will serve as the backdrop for the season-long battle for Player of the Year honors on the top-rated developmental tour.
While there have been 12 different winners through the first 16 events of the season, a pair of golfers have separated themselves from the field in the POY battle – and both will be in the field this week.
Jon Curran, who is No. 1 on the money list, and second-place Justin Lower will descend on the longtime LPGA Tour host site to continue their spirited battle for the prestigious post-season accolade.
While Lower led the money standings for much of the year, Curran leapt to the top of Order of Merit with his third victory of the season two weeks ago in the Honda Powersports Classic at the Country Club of South Carolina.
In addition his Tour-high three victories, Curran, a former Vanderbilt standout from Tequesta, Fla., has earned four other top-10 finishes, posted only two finishes outside the top 25 and amassed nearly $100,000 in earnings in just 11 starts.
“I’m the same person I was a few years ago when I thought it was impossible to finish inside the top 10 on the NGA TOUR,” said Curran, who also has a top-25 finish on the PGA TOUR this season. “I just have a lot more confidence and I’m calm. There were points in my career where I stressed over every putt and put a lot of pressure on myself. I don’t worry about what everyone else is doing and stay focused on what I’m doing.”
Though Curran has nearly a $20,000 lead in the money standings, the former Commodore may want to keep an eye on Lower over the remaining two events.
Following both of Curran’s first two wins, Lower added victories in the ensuing weeks to reclaim the top spot in the Order of Merit. In addition to the wins, Lower, a Malone University alumnus from Augusta, Ga., has two top 10s and four finishes inside the top 35 this season in Pro Series action.
Curran and Lower will be among the favorites this week, but they’ll need to be flawless in order to keep up their winning ways against the top-flight field assembled in Stockbridge, Ga., this week for the inaugural Eagle’s Landing Classic.
The field will contain 2013 winners Ken Looper, M.J. Daffue, Clayton Rask and Brandon Brown along with past NGA TOUR winners Tyson Alexander, Travis Bertoni, Mark Blakefield, Rick Cochran III, Jeff Corr, Bubba Dickerson, Kyle Ellis, Matt Harmon, Jesse Hutchins, Hudson Johnson, Grant Leaver, Adam Long, Major Manning, Chas Narramore, Jonathan Randolph, James Vargas, Jay Woodson and Savannah’s Mark Silvers.
Other Peach State golfers in the field include: Steve Bass (Newnan), Sam Del Val (Athens), Charlie Harrison (Atlanta), Hank Kim (Jonesboro), Patton Kizzire (St. Simons Island), Adam Mitchell (Atlanta), Will Repko (Valdosta), Richard Schembechler (Augusta), Gator Todd (Sea Island), Brent Witcher (Atlanta) and Chris Wolfe (Warner Robins).
The first round of the Eagle’s Landing Classic will begin Thursday at 7:30 a.m. As always, admission is free to the public.
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.