2010 NGA Tour Rookie of the Year, Will Wilcox, steals show at Sony Open in Hawaii


Almost half of Sony Open field made up of NGA Tour alums. Rookie Wilcox coming off T11 Finish at NGA Tour Florida Series Stoneybrook East event

Honolulu, HI January 13, 2014 – With 65 past NGA Tour players teeing it up in the PGA Tour Sony Open this past week, who could’ve guessed it would be a couple rookies making all the headlines throughout the week? For those who have followed the NGA Tour the past few years it would come as no surprise. 2010 NGA Tour Rookie of the Year Will Wilcox started the event with rounds of 69, 66, and 64 putting himself into a tie for 2nd after three rounds and a final day pairing with two players who have already won on tour this season; University of Georgia alums Harris English and Chris Kirk, an NGA alum himself who held the outright lead by a shot after three rounds. Not bad for a kid who starred at the University of Alabama at Birmingham making his rookie season debut on tour. A final round 71 would drop Wilcox to T8 for the event while Kirk’s final round 66 would leave him in solo 2nd, a shot behind Jimmy Walker who shot the tournament’s best round 63 to earn his 2nd win on tour this season. While Wilcox didn’t get the finish he was hoping for, there aren’t too many professionals who can say they had a top 8 finish in their rookie season debut. Oh, and by the way, his last start before making his rookie season debut? A T11 finish at the NGA Tour Florida Winter Series event held at Stoneybrook East in November.

Will Wilcox 2010 McCormick win check

Will Wilcox 2010 McCormick win check

Peter Malnati, also competing in his rookie season on tour, continued his stellar play that started on the NGA Tour just last year. Consistency is the name of Malnati’s game and, while he wasn’t able to notch a win on the NGA Tour, he did manage 2 runner-up finishes and a top 10 finish on the NGA Tour money list all while moving up to the Web.com Tour in-season. Now, less than a year removed from the NGA Tour, Malnati finds himself with back to back cuts made on the world’s top tour. Malnati shot rounds of 69, 69, and 70 at the Sony and then chipped in for eagle on hole 18 on the final day for a 66 which moved him up 26 spots into a tie for 38th with fellow NGA alums Billy Hurley III and Ben Martin, both 2010 NGA grads along with Wilcox.

NGA Logo formerly the Hooters TourAnother NGA Tour alum looking to make headlines was veteran Zach Johnson. The 2001 NGA Tour Player of the Year had won his previous 2 starts, the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge and the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, and was looking to add a third. Johnson had pulled the feat before winning three consecutive events on the NGA Tour in 2001, earning the nickname Back to Back to Back Zach from his peers. He wasn’t too far from pulling the feat again as Johnson sat at tied for 6th after rounds of 68, 67, and 66. However a final round 69 dropped him 2 spots and he finished in a tie for 8th with Wilcox and four NGA alums; Kevin Na, Hudson Swafford, Matt Every, and Ryan Palmer. Jerry Kelly, in 3rd, and Brian Stuard, in 6th, were the next two highest finishing NGA alums behind Kirk.

2012 NGA Tour member Robert Streb had a story to tell of his own from the week. Streb made the trip to Hawaii, rolling the dice, as an alternate without a guaranteed spot. However, when Hideki Matsuyama hurt his wrist, the gamble had paid off, but not until another call had to be made first. The tour first had to call fellow NGA Tour alum Shawn Stefani, who had moved up to first alternate throughout the week, and offer him the spot.  Stefani, however, had been the 6th alternate when he signed to play the event and, figuring the chances of getting in were slim, decided to go ahead with a planned vacation for he and his wife. When he got the call Wednesday Stefani knew what it was for but had to turn the spot down as he was still in Houston. That’s when Streb got the call around dinner time Wednesday, after holding out hope for two days, that he would get into the event. Streb made the start count by making the cut and finishing T68.

For full Sony Open results click here

The following is a listing of NGA Tour alums in the Sony Open and how they finished:

Pos      NGA Alums       Total     Thru      R1        R2        R3        R4

2          Chris Kirk          -16        F          64         69         65         66

3          Jerry Kelly         -15        F          67         67         66         65

6          Brian Stuard      -12        F          65         65         71         67

T8         Ryan Palmer     -10        F          65         70         67         68

T8         Kevin Na           -10        F          70         67         67         66

T8         Matt Every        -10        F          69         65         69         67

T8         Will Wilcox        -10        F          69         66         64         71

T8         Zach Johnson   -10        F          68         67         66         69

T8         Hudson Swafford          -10        F          70         64         69         67

T20       Jason Kokrak    -9         F          66         67         70         68

T20       Brendon Todd   -9         F          70         66         66         69

T20       John Peterson   -9         F          68         69         65         69

T20       Chris Stroud      -9         F          68         65         70         68

T20       Stewart Cink      -9         F          69         69         66         67

T20       Heath Slocum   -9         F          69         69         65         68

T29       Spencer Levin   -8         F          69         69         66         68

T29       Boo Weekley    -8         F*         67         67         70         68

T32       Brian Gay          -7         F*         71         68         67         67

T32       John Daly         -7         F          66         73         64         70

T32       Brian Harman    -7         F*         69         66         69         69

T38       Peter Malnati     -6         F*         69         69         70         66

T38       Billy Hurley III    -6         F*         67         69         69         69

T38       Ben Martin        -6         F          67         69         68         70

T46       Chad Collins     -5         F*         71         67         68         69

T46       William McGirt   -5         F*         67         72         68         68

T51       John Rollins      -4         F*         69         68         70         69

T51       Mark Wilson      -4         F*         68         68         71         69

T51       Justin Hicks      -4         F*         69         69         70         68

T51       Russell Henley  -4         F*         73         65         69         69

T51       Brendon de Jonge         -4         F*         68         71         69         68

T61       John Senden     -3         F*         72         67         68         70

T65       Morgan Hoffmann         -2         F*         68         69         71         70

T68       Robert Streb     -1         F*         70         69         67         73

T68       Scott Brown      -1         F*         71         67         70         71

T70       Tommy Gainey  2          F*         72         67         70         73

T70       Derek Tolan      2          F*         70         66         70         76

CUT      Kevin Kisner                             72         68

CUT      Will MacKenzie                         70         70

CUT      Russell Knox                            68         72

CUT      Jeff Maggert                            70         71

CUT      Erik Compton                           73         69

CUT      Josh Teater                              72         70

CUT      Roberto Castro                        68         74

CUT      Ted Potter, Jr.                          74         68

CUT      Scott Langley                           71         71

CUT      Andrew Svoboda                                 71         71

CUT      Edward Loar                            73         69

CUT      Shane Bertsch                          75         68

CUT      Bronson La’Cassie                               69         74

CUT      Will Claxton                              71         72

CUT      Jim Renner                               72         72

CUT      Chesson Hadley                                   72         72

CUT      Alex Aragon                             71         73

CUT      Scott Piercy                             71         69

CUT      Lee Williams                             75         71

CUT      Wes Roach                              70         74

CUT      Andrew Loupe                          74         72

CUT      Sean O’Hair                              75         73

CUT      Jim Herman                              69         71

CUT      Michael Thompson                               72         71

MDF     Joe Durant                               68         71         73

MDF     Ken Duke                                 68         71         71

CUT      Kirk Nelson                              74         80

CUT      Matt Bettencourt                                   70         70

CUT      Mark Anderson                         74         68

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