Ryan O'Sullivan

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2012 Q School Graduates

Saturday, December 08, 2012


Name: Michael Letzig

Age: 32

TOUR Record: 97 events; 57 cuts made; 21 top 25s; nine top 10s including a runner-up at the Ginn sur Mer Classic to end 2008

Summary: After looking like a PGA TOUR mainstay late in the last decade, his career took a turn for the worst in 2011. He made a respectable 14 of 25 cuts on the Web.com Tour in 2012, including a T3 at the Soboba Golf Classic. His stats were fairly average across the board, highlighted by an impressive 20th in sand saves.

2013 Expectations: We know he can have a solid year, as he’s proven that before. He should benefit from a good number of starts before the first reshuffle, so he will have his chances to make an impact. At the end of the day, I’m wary of a retread that wasn’t able to crack the top 25 on the Web.com Tour. I see him failing to crack the top 150.

Reminds me of: Nathan Green

Impact Tournaments: HP Byron Nelson Championship, FedEx St. Jude Classic, Travelers Championship

 

Name: Jeff Gove

Age: 41

TOUR Record: 163 events; 73 cuts made; 17 top 25s; five top 10s

Summary: It was a disappointing year on the Web.com Tour for the veteran, as he cashed in just 12 of 26 events, while recording two top 10s. At 27th in GIR he gave himself plenty of chances to circle birdies but still only ranked 85th in birdie average. He was last a mainstay on the PGA TOUR in 2010.

2013 Expectations: Unfortunately, I don’t have very much confidence in his ability to find the fountain of youth on the golf course in his early 40s. There are examples, such as Ken Duke, of guys that have done just that, but Gove’s entire body of work makes it likely that he will experience the new version of trying to qualify for the PGA TOUR in 2013. I’ll take him outside the top 150.

Reminds me of: Marco Dawson
Impact Tournaments: The Honda Classic, HP Byron Nelson Championship, John Deere Classic

 

Name: Steven Bowditch

Age: 29

TOUR Record: 75 events; 23 cuts made; eight top 25s; one top 10

Summary: He entered the final round of Q School with the lead, but found himself 4-over-par through six holes before battling back to post a 2-over 74 to secure his card. He made just five of 18 cuts as a member of the PGA TOUR in 2012, with a T15 at Pebble Beach and a T16 at the Frys.com Open the highlights. He is known for his length, ranking 19th in driving distance, and would have edged out Rory McIlroy for the lead in par 5 birdie or better leaders if he played enough rounds to qualify.

2013 Expectations: Has a history of battling depression, which can make him a hard play for fantasy gamers not knowing his status in that area week-to-week. His overall mental game is also questionable given how quickly he hemorrhaged shots in the Q School finale. To his credit, he righted the ship and played his last 11 holes in 2-under. Though he has the talent, he has yet to show the consistency to expect anything other than another season outside the top 150.

Reminds me of: Robert Garrigus

Impact Tournaments: AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, True South Classic, The Greenbrier Classic

 

Name: Matt Jones

Age: 32

TOUR Record: 120 events; 64 cuts made; 24 top 25s; 11 top 10s

Summary: Made just eight of 19 cuts with a lone top 10 on the PGA TOUR in 2012. He’s earned a decent living with over $3.4 million in career money on the PGA TOUR, but he’s seemingly stuck in a rut somewhere above the level of a journeyman and slightly below a typical rank-in-file player. He ranked outside the top 100 in driving accuracy, GIR and strokes gained-putting in 2012.

2013 Expectations: There really isn’t much the Aussie could do to surprise me. He’s a good enough player to jump out and win, but he’s never really been all that close. Nothing tells me we can expect a result any different from 2012 in 2013, so I’ll stick with him in the outside top 150 category.

Reminds me of: Chris Stroud

Impact Tournaments: Puerto Rico Open, Zurich Classic of New Orleans, John Deere Classic

 

Name: Robert Karlsson

Age: 43

TOUR Record: 103 events; 72 cuts made; 25 top 25s; nine top 10s; two runners-up

Summary: My first thought was that I couldn’t believe he’s 43. Then things started to make sense. At an age where we see players struggle with balky putters and nervous twitches, the one-time world-class player struggled with the swing yips in 2012. It was so bad that he pulled out of the Open Championship. He rebounded and looked like his old self in both the second and final stages of Q School.

2013 Expectations: I’m cautiously optimistic toward the Swede. The final stage of Q School seems to be the type of test that would identify yips if they were still active. Still, we can’t know if something will trigger a return. An average Robert Karlsson is a much better player than most of the rank-and-file on TOUR, so I’ll say he rebounds in 2013 to finish inside the top 125.

Reminds me of: Chris DiMarco.

Impact Tournaments: Shell Houston Open, Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, FedEx St. Jude Classic

 

Name: Eric Meierdierks  ** ROOKIE **

Age: 27

TOUR Record: one event (missed cut in the 2009 Frys.com Open)

Summary: Up until now, his claim to fame was beating Luke Guthrie by a stroke to claim the 2010 Illinois Open Championship. He made all 15 of his cuts on the Gateway Tour in 2012, with 12 of those coming in the Arizona Winter Series.

2013 Expectations: There are other rookies with stronger résumés and pedigrees than Meierdierks, so it’s hard to expect much out of him. If he doesn’t get off to a hot start, he’s a guy that may drop down to play some Web.com Tour events if he’s not getting into tournaments later in the season. I don’t expect him to crack the top 150.

Reminds me of: Charlie Beljan

Impact Tournaments: We don’t have enough statistical data or history to go on. The advice is to monitor him closely week-to-week to see if any statistical trends develop while watching for trends in his form.

 

Name: Scott Langley  ** ROOKIE **

Age: 23

TOUR Record: six events; four cuts made; T16 at the 2010 U.S. Open as an amateur is the best

Summary: During a storied amateur career at the University of Illinois, Langley shared low-amateur honors with Russell Henley at the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Since turning pro, Langley has managed to cash in three of his five PGA TOUR starts, including a T29 at the 2012 U.S. Open. The lefty is a borderline elite talent whose ceiling will rival that of any of the 25-and-under crowd coming out of Q School or off the Web.com Tour in this year’s graduating class.

2013 Expectations: If this were 2012, I’d take him to finish inside the top 125 without blinking. His number is okay, but not great. He should get into a few events before the first reshuffle, but not all of them. Going for him is that he’s shown the ability to make the cut in his limited starts. I’ll allow for a slight learning curve and put him in the 126-150 category with the caveat that I expect him to claw his way back on TOUR for the 2013-2014 season via the four-tournament qualifier. He is one of those that may feel the sting of no Fall Series in 2013.

Reminds me of: Matt Every.

Impact Tournaments: The Honda Classic, FedEx St. Jude Classic, U.S. Open

 

Name: Aaron Watkins

Age: 30

TOUR Record: 21 events; seven cuts made; two top 25s; one top 10

Summary: After a rocky year on the PGA TOUR in 2009, he found his comfort level on the Web.com Tour. He cracked $130k in cash in each of the last two seasons, racking up 16 top 25s in those 47 starts. He ranked 25th in putting average and 18th in scrambling on the 2012 Web.com Tour. He qualified for the U.S. Open in 2012, posting a T15 while never shooting higher than a 72.

2013 Expectations: Watkins enters his second stint on TOUR in much better form than when he began his 2009 rookie campaign. He’s learned how to make cuts and convert solid finishes on the Web.com Tour, and even found success in this year’s U.S. Open. He doesn’t have much positive experience on PGA TOUR venues to pull from but he should make his fair share of cuts. That means his weekend scoring average will be a major factor. I’ll take him to finish in the 126-150 range.

Reminds me of: Mark Wilson

Impact Tournaments: Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Travelers Championship, Wyndham Championship

 

Name: Derek Ernst  ** ROOKIE **

Age: 22

TOUR Record: one event (T41 at the 2012 Frys.com Open)

Summary: Finished UNLV in 2012 and earned Division 1 PING honorable mention All-American honors with a 71.39 stroke average his senior year. He won the ASU Thunderbird Invitational in his senior campaign and converted his only opportunity to play on the TOUR into a paycheck.

2013 Expectations: Could benefit from a full year on the Web.com Tour but will now learn on the fly. He will have a profitable season, but won’t be able to do well enough to crack the top 150.

Reminds me of: Charley Hoffman

Impact Tournaments: We don’t have enough statistical data or history to go on. The advice is to monitor him closely week-to-week to see if any statistical trends develop while watching for trends in his form.

 

Name: Si Woo Kim  ** ROOKIE **

Age: 17

TOUR Record: none

Summary: Similar to Ty Tryon years ago, he qualified before turning the minimum age of 18 for PGA TOUR membership. Kim advanced through all four stages of Q School, including the pre-qualifier to earn a card.

2013 Expectations: This is perhaps the easiest one. Unless he does something special with some limited sponsor’s exemptions or turns into 2013's version of Patrick Reed on the Monday Qualifier circuit, Kim is going to get only about three or four starts. As talented as he may be, no one in their right mind would project him inside the top 150. It’s a shame because he will have to fight hard to finish inside the top 200 to have a shot at inclusion in the race for a 2013-2014 card.

Reminds me of: Ty Tryon

Impact Tournaments: He will only get into roughly four tournaments, so we’ll go with the RBC Canadian Open, Reno-Tahoe Open and Wyndham Championship.

 

Name: Tag Ridings

Age: 38

TOUR Record: 182 events; 93 cuts made; 20 top 25s; 11 top 10s including a runner-up at the 2004 Michelin Championship at Las Vegas

Summary: A true journeyman, Ridings has bounced between the PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour more times than a left-handed middle-relief pitcher catches planes between the Major Leagues and Triple-A. He made 19 of 25 cuts on the Web.com Tour in 2012, including 10 top 25s. At fifth in driving distance, he’s known as a bomber off the tee with a streaky putter.

2013 Expectations: History is against him keeping his card, but anytime a guy cracks the top 25 in 10 out of 25 events on the Web.com Tour they’ve clearly found something in their game. Keeping with the baseball analogy, there are plenty of examples of guys who dominate Triple-A only to struggle in the majors and that seems to be Ridings’ lot. I’ll take him outside the top 150.

Reminds me of: Troy Matteson

Impact Tournaments: Puerto Rico Open, Travelers Championship, The Greenbrier Classic

 

Name: Donald Constable  ** ROOKIE **

Age: 23

TOUR Record: none

Summary: Constable joins Scott Langley as another under-25 southpaw on the TOUR. The University of Minnesota product made it through all four stages of Q School to earn a card. He is new to the professional ranks, having competed in the 2012 U.S. Amateur before turning pro. His highlight of 2012 was winning the Terra Cotta Invitational.

2013 Expectations: There’s always a guy or two that comes out of nowhere to have a great season, and that’s what Constable must do. Even with a win in 2012, he had several less-than-impressive tournaments including an 80 in his U.S. Open local qualifier. He also failed to advance to the match play round at the aforementioned U.S. Amateur. He’ll do well to stay inside the top 200, making it easy to peg him outside the top 150.

Reminds me of:  John Huh

Impact Tournaments: We don’t have enough statistical data or history to go on. The advice is to monitor him closely week-to-week to see if any statistical trends develop while watching for trends in his form.

 

Name: Bobby Gates

Age: 27

TOUR Record: 61 events; 28 cuts made; nine top 25s; four top 10s

Summary: For the second year in a row, Gates found himself in the 126-150 category and earned his card back via Q School. He’s played 29 events in each of those seasons and improved his cuts made from 11 to 15, but saw his top 10s drop from three to one. He was 21st in driving distance in 2012, but like so many other bombers the rest of his game doesn’t keep pace.

2013 Expectations: Smart money says he’s been locked into the 126-150 range, and with a weak number to start the year it’s likely he will wind up in this group again. As we know, it only takes one big week to change everything, but this is a tough year to pull it off.

Reminds me of: Brandt Jobe

Impact Tournaments: Humana Challenge, Puerto Rico Open, Wells Fargo Championship

 

Name: Patrick Reed  ** ROOKIE **

Age: 22

TOUR Record: 15 events; nine cuts made; four top 25s

Summary: Reed was Mr. Monday Qualifier this year, six times earning spots in the field via the four-spotters. He gained entry into a total of 12 tournaments in 2012 despite not having a shred of status, earning just over $300k in the process. He also dabbled on the Web.com Tour in his spare time, cashing in one of two starts.

2013 Expectations: While he won’t get many starts on the West Coast thanks to a weak number, if there’s one thing we know about Reed it’s that he can earn his way into a field the hard way. He has the making of a guy that won’t be denied, and I like him to figure out a way to earn enough money, at least by the second reshuffle, to secure a good number of starts. I’ll take him inside the top 125.

Reminds me of: Bud Cauley

Impact Tournaments: Valero Texas Open, Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Wells Fargo Championship

 

Name: Henrik Norlander  ** ROOKIE **

Age: 25

TOUR Record: none

Summary: Joined Patrick Reed in winning a national championship at Augusta State, but hasn’t had the early success enjoyed by Reed on the game’s biggest stage. The Swede finished 16th on the eGolf Professional Tour money list, highlighted by a win at the Olde Sycamore Open in September. He made 15 of 18 cuts on that circuit.

2013 Expectations: If he can make cuts at the rate he did on the eGolf Tour, he should be fine, but that won’t be an easy task. Like other guys this far down the list, it will be very hard for him to get into any kind of rhythm. I expect him outside the top 150.

Reminds me of: Jonas Blixt

Impact Tournaments: We don’t have enough statistical data or history to go on. The advice is to monitor him closely week-to-week to see if any statistical trends develop while watching for trends in his form.

 

Name: Chez Reavie

Age: 31

TOUR Record: 131 events; 75 cuts made; 19 top 25s; eight top 10s; one win (2008 RBC Canadian Open)

Summary: Made 15 of 26 cuts but only found his way inside the top 25 four times in 2012. He suffered through six missed cuts in succession, beginning with the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in April and ending at the U.S. Open in June, ultimately torpedoing his season. He finished the year by making nine of his last 11 cuts. He is the only Q School grad to have claimed a PGA TOUR win.

2013 Expectations: He’s made the cut in 57.25 percent of his starts, so if he can play well enough in his first few events to improve his number he should be familiar enough with his surroundings to do fairly well. The problem is, he’s posted top 10s in just over six percent of his starts, meaning he needs a bunch of starts to amass the cash to finish inside the top 125, rather than relying on three or four hot weeks every year. With starts a question mark, I’ll take him in the 126-150 range.

Reminds me of: Vaughn Taylor

Impact Tournaments: Tampa Bay Championship, Travelers Championship, John Deere Classic

 

To add it all up, of the 26 Q School grads I expect six to finish the season inside the top 125, with an additional seven in the 126-150 conditional category. For the other 13, the hope is they at least finish inside the top 200 to earn a trip to the four-tournament qualifier that replaces Q School as a conduit to the PGA TOUR.

 

Best of luck to all!

 



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Ryan O’Sullivan joined Rotoworld in 2012. The Clemson grad blogs as The Golf Aficionado.
Email :Ryan O'Sullivan



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