The road to the PGA tour is rarely quick or easy. For every Jordon Spieth there are thousands more who toil away just trying to reach the official road to the PGA Tour, otherwise known as the Web.com. For reference, each year over 1,000 professional golfers will take part in the Web.com Qualifying. Some will start in Pre-Qualifying, others in 1st, 2nd or Final Stage. Whatever stage you start in, you will still need to finish T45 or better in Final Stage to be guaranteed a chance to play in a single Web.com event. Yes, the harsh reality is that nearly 100 golfers who earn their Web.com card may never play in a single Web.com event. Chip Lynn is not one of those people. Chip Lynn has earned full status on the 2017 Web.com Tour.
Lynn’s road to the Web.com is not uncommon. Like many aspiring golfers, after college Lynn began his professional career far from any major tour. Instead he started on the mini tour circuit where he would spend $500-$800 to enter events hoping to improve his craft and win some money. Despite a number of wins, 4 years had gone by and Lynn had yet to qualify for any major golf tour.
Asked about those first years Lynn noted “It really took me three years just to find my way and to not just improve, but learn how to improve”. In 2013, Lynn got his first professional win on the eGolf Tour, but then was set back with a knee injury that required surgery.
In 2014, Lynn would break through when he reached the Web.com Final Stage and a chance to get starts on a major tour. Despite a decent week, Lynn would finish in 95th place which meant that he would again have no guaranteed starts. Without a tour to play on, Chip returned to his home state of North Carolina to again play on the mini tour and get a few starts on the PGA Latin America Tour.
In 2015 and 2016 saw Lynn have more success on the mini tour, with him winning 3 GPro events. However, he was still without status on a major tour. Then in late 2016, with perhaps his last best chance to play on a PGA sanctioned tour, Chip went to PGA Latin America Q School. With only 10 people qualifying from his site, Chip got a needed birdie on the 1st playoff hole to get through. Finally, Lynn would be able to plan his 2017 season.
In February 2017, Lynn made his first start on the PGA Latin America Tour and finished 12th. More importantly, Lynn welcomed a new baby girl in March.
“Having Lilly Pearl is incredible. It’s now extra hard to pack my bags for the week knowing I am missing her”
After skipping a few PGA LA events to welcome his daughter, Chip returned to the tour where he would make 11 out 12 cuts and have two top 5 finishes. Asked about his consistent play Lynn responded:
“I felt like I understood my game this year and I was able to trust myself. I knew that if I just played my game I could finish in the top 20 every week and on a good week I could win”
Having secured enough status to skip the 1st stage of Web.com Q School, Lynn turned his attention to getting back to Web.com Finals.
Asked about his mindset going into the 2nd Stage event, Lynn said
“Going into 2nd Stage I knew I had the game, but there are a lot of really good players and golf is golf so you just play your game and see what happens”.
2nd Stage qualifying is no cake walk. 75 players competing for 20 spots and all of them have strong resumes. Lynn, shot 66, 72, 68, 68 to finish T9 and move on to Final Stage.
While everyone who reaches the Web.com Final Stage is given conditional status, only the top 45 players are guaranteed starts. In other words, without a strong Finals performance, Lynn would be headed back to PGA LA wondering what could have been.
Because of the large field, players were split between the Whirlwind Cattail and Devils Claw Courses. Lynn would start the week on the harder of the two, the Cattail: 3 bogeys and 4 birdies would put him in the mix, but far from the lead.
Lynn would later note that “even though it was only -1 on the card, I felt it was my best round. The wind was blowing 20mph and it was just really tough”
Day 2 and 3 would be another story as Lynn torched the Devil’s Claw with 12 birdies to just one bogey and he would set himself up for a strong Sunday finish and a good chance to finish in the top 45.
As the sun rose on Sunday morning, Lynn knew he only needed to post 2 or 3 under to secure a top 45 finish but he would be playing the Cattail course where just 3 days prior he had only been able to manage a 71.
“I was not nervous, maybe anxious. It’s always hard to wait in-between rounds, but once I was on the course I settled in. All week we were focused on one thing, starting the ball on line. We just felt that if we could focus on that one thing, the rest would take care of itself. I think that was what really helped get us through the week.”
It would take 8 holes before Lynn made a birdie. He would card another on 10. On the 15th hole, Chip’s dad would show up after being delayed by a flight. His first look at his son was a 7 foot par putt.
“Yea, not the best lag putt, but it found the bottom of the cup. I guess Dad brought me a little luck.”
Lynn, would go on to birdie 17 and 18 for a final round 67 and a T16 at the 2017 Web.com Finals.
With the week behind him and a full Web.com tour ahead, Chip Lynn will be taking some time off to spend with his family. QED Style would like to congratulate Chip on his success and wish him even more in 2018. Check out Chip's Profile Page