Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Bubba Watson wins Northern Trust Open, 10 years after NGA Tour win at Orange Park

Ten NGAers finish 14th or better in season opening Colombia event

(Pacific Palisades, Cal.) – Almost 10 years ago to the day, future PGA Tour stars Bubba Watson, Will MacKenzie, Scott Piercy, Josh Teater, Blake Adams, and Bubba Dickerson were all competing on a different tour, the NGA Tour at an event in Orange Park, Florida. This past week, 10 years later, on the opposite coast, and playing on THE TOUR, the results came out just about the same with Bubba Watson, as he had done 10 years earlier, grabbing the win.

Altogether 49 NGA Tour alums competed in the February 13-16 Northern Trust Open held at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Cal. Watson received $1.2 million for the win, a long cry from the $22,000 he earned for his win at Orange Park a decade earlier.

If the season holds true to that of the NGA’s in 2004, keep an eye out for Will MacKenzie. Following his runner-up finish to Watson at Orange Park, MacKenzie won three times on the NGA Tour on his way to earning Player of the Year Honors. And, if you’re looking for a good fantasy pick up for this week, you’d be wise to jump on Bubba Dickerson as he won the week following Orange Park that year. NGA Tour alum Blake Adams had a better go this time around, finishing tied for 27th after missing the cut at Orange Park 10 seasons ago. NGA alums Dickerson and Teater were not as fortunate, missing the cut as compared to placing those years ago. Piercy, like Watson and MacKenzie, made the cut in both events, finishing 77th this past week.

Four other NGA Tour alums managed top 10 finishes at the Northern Trust with 2011 Kandy Waters Memorial Classic runner-up and Mount Vintage Plantation course record holder, Brian Harman, finishing tied for 3rd and fellow alums George McNeill, Matt Every, and Will McGirt finishing T6. John Senden at T18 and Keegan Bradley at T20 rounded out the NGA Tour alums to finish inside the top 20. Bradley’s fellow NGA Tour graduate from the 2009 season, and recent TOUR winner, Scott Stallings, finished T45 with Scott Brown, another past NGA Tour winner. Past NGA Tour money title leader Kevin Streelman finished T35 with past Q School Medalist and fellow NGA Tour alum Brendon Todd. NGA Tour vet Ken Duke and recent NGA Tour grad Billy Hurley III finished T45 with MacKenzie while Erik Compton, a fellow winner on the NGA Tour in 2004, finished T59. Harold Varner, a veteran primarily of the NGA Tour’s winter series, came in T70 with fellow NGA Tour alum Martin Flores. Ben Curtis, who won the British Open a year removed from the NGA Tour in 2003, finished 76th. Altogether 22 of the 49 NGA Tour alums in the field made the Northern Trust Open cut.

While the PGA TOUR was competing in the states, the Web.com Tour was holding their season kick-off event out of the country in Colombia. Sixty-nine NGA Tour alums competed in the event which is limited by the number of sponsor’s exemptions given to Latin-American players. Because of the number of special exemptions, the event does not hold a standard Monday qualifier like the events here in the states. Still, with the limited field, 10 NGA Tour alums managed to finish at T14 or better with Bill Lunde leading the way in fourth. Recent NGA Tour grads Chris Wilson and Sam Saunders finished T5 while past NGA Tour Rookie of the Year Vaughn Taylor finished T8 with fellow alum Derek Fathauer. 2013 NGA Tour Pro Series competitors Matt Hendrix, Tony Finau, and Jonathan Randolph (the NGA’s 2012 co-Rookie of the Year) finished T14 with fellow NGA alums and past winners Hugo Leon and Manuel Villegas. 2013 NGA Tour Player of the Year Jon Curran and Rookie of the Year Blayne Barber, in their first events as full Web.com Tour members, finished T21 with fellow 2013 NGA Tour competitors Zack Sucher and Chris Baker, and NGA Tour vet Jeff Gove. Ryan Blaum, who was awarded the NGA Tour’s Sanderson Farms Championship exemption in 2013 for his Magnolia Bluffs Casino Classic win, finished T29 with NGA veteran Billy Mayfair and recent grad Franklin Corpening. 2007 NGA Tour Player of the Year Casey Wittenberg finished T41 with fellow NGA Tour alums Wil Collins, Nick Taylor, Brett Lederer, and James Nitties. 2009 NGA Tour Award Winners Philip Pettitt Jr and Nick Rousey finished T47 with fellow alums Fernando Mechereffe and Rod Pampling. Pettitt won Rookie of the Year in 2009 while Rousey was named the tour’s Golf Achievement Award Winner. 2013 NGA Tour Pro Series member, and Q School Medalist Zack Fischer, finished T54 with fellow alums JJ Killeen, Shane Bertsch, and Chase Wright. Vince India T62, Chris Epperson T65, and Darron Stiles in 70th rounded out the NGA Tour making the cut in the season opening event. Stiles had just  competed the week before on the NGA Tour Carolina Winter Series, finishing T12, in preparation for the start of his 2014 campaign.

For full Northern Trust Open results visit: http://www.pgatour.com/content/pgatour/tournaments/northern-trust-open/leaderboard.html

For full Colombia Championship results visit: http://www.pgatour.com/webcom/leaderboard.html

For more information on the National Golf Association or the NGA Pro Golf Tour, visit www.ngatour.com, call 800-992-8748, or email Player Administrator Joy Johnson at Joy@NGATour.com.

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