QED Style made its debut on the PGA Tour this week when Andy Pope took advantage of his Monday Qualifying for the McGladrey Classic.
Each week, several hundred golfers try to qualify for the upcoming PGA Event. For many players this means competing in the Friday Pre-Qualifier where approximately 20 of the 100 competitors will get through to the actual Monday Qualifier. Then on Monday, those players will be joined by players from the PGA Tour, Champions Tour, Web.com Tour and others who have enough status to exempt out of the Friday qualifier. In other words, about 100 guys who are tour tested and tour winners.
Then, for one round, players must try to find an 18 hole hot streak as only 4 of them will earn a start in the PGA Event. Typically, this means posting a -4 to -7 round on a course you may have never played. In Andy's case, he shot -4 which was T3 but because there can only be 4 to advance he would need to beat out three other competitors in a hole by hole playoff to gain the final spot.
Having successfully navigated the torturous Monday Qualifying, Andy would next test his skills against some of the best golfers in the world. In the first round of the McGladrey Classic, Andy played a solid even par round through 17 holes but a double bogey on 18 would put him outside the cutline. Likely needing to shoot 3 or 4 under to make the weekend cut, Andy posted a 4 under 66 on Friday to secure his first PGA weekend play.
Normally, making the cut would have been enough to guarantee Andy two more rounds, but due to the fact nearly 90 players were at or below the cutline, there would be one more hurdle to get over (stay in the top 70). Fortunately, Andy was able to shake off an opening double bogey to shoot even par and get the opportunity play the 4th round and finish in the money at the McGladrey Classic.
Sunday's final round of the McGladrey Classic was held on a beautiful sunny day in Sea Island, Georgia, and while Andy was not in contention to win the tournament, he certainly had a lot of motivation to move up the leaderboard as the prize money for the PGA is significantly larger than it is on the Web.com tour. For example, a 60th place finish on the Web.com pays about $1,500 compared to about $12,000 on the PGA Tour. Moving up the leaderboard, a top 25 PGA finish is worth nearly $50,000 compared to just $10,000 on the Web.com. In other words, playing in a PGA event provides a significant prize money upside.
Unfortunately, birdies were not falling on Sunday for Andy at the rate they had been in prior rounds and the even par round would only be good enough for a T63 finish. With that said, just getting into a PGA event is incredibly difficult, not to mention making the cut, so there is no doubt this will be a huge positive as Andy starts the new season and will rank as one of the highlight of Andy's young career.
Speaking after the round Andy told us:
"Playing in the PGA event was a great opportunity and boosted my confidence in moving forward with my career."
Next up for Pope will be Second Stage Q-School Qualifying for the Web.com Tour. This will be Andy's third year on the tour and he will surely take his PGA experience to the course as he tries to finish inside the Top 25 money list, which is the magic number for gaining a PGA Card.
We want to congratulate Andy and wish him the best of luck in Q-School, where he will be joined by fellow QED Style team members, Zahkai Brown, Clay Ogden and the guys from TourQuest (KC Lim, Paul Imondi, Mark Baker and Chris Gilman).