Moving On the 15 Graduates of the 2000 BUYCOM Tour

By Golf Channel NewsroomFebruary 2, 2001, 5:00 pm
Every December, the 15 top finishers at the grueling PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, or Q-School, win the right to play the big tour the following year. Here's a look at the class of 2000.
1. SPIKE McROY - Number 1 on the Buy.Com money list, Spike McRoy is back again for another go at the PGA Tour. He previously played the regular tour in 1997 and 1998, but last year won the Buy.Com Tour Championship and was named Buy.Com Player of the Year. He had won the Dakota Dunes Open earlier in the year. McRoy first was a member of the Buy.Com Tour in 1992 after a collegiate career at the University of Alabama. He is an aficionado of the stock market.
2. MARK HENSBY - A native of Australia who now lives in Phoenix, Ariz., Hensby begins his first year of play on the regular tour. Mark became a father last year for the first time, daughter Chase born in February. He entered 29 Buy.Com events last year and was in the top 10 five times. Hensby held the top spot in the money list for sixteen weeks, surrendering it at the Buy.Com Tour Championship to McRoy with a tie for 39th.
3. TIM CLARK - This South African was born in Durban but played college golf at North Carolina State University. Only 5-7 and 150 pounds, he played the Buy.Com tour for two years before finally breaking through. He won twice in 2000 within three weeks' time, at the Fort Smith Classic and the Boise Open. The Boise win gave him a first-place check of $100,080, largest in the tour's 11-year history. In 1997, he was Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year.
4. BRINEY BAIRD - Briney, the son of Senior Tour pro Butch Baird, was a member of the PGA Tour in 1999 and the Buy.Com in 1997-98 and 2000. A South Florida native, he played in 26 events last year, finishing in the top 10 an even 10 times and the top 25 14 times. He won the Monterrey Open and was never lower than eighth after the first nine events of the season. Baird played high school soccer and was Most Valuable Player of the team.
5. IAN LEGGATT - A native of Canada, Leggatt spent only one year on the Buy.Com Tour. He made the cut in 11 of the first 12 Buy.Com events and finished in the top 10 six times and in the top 25 10 times. Leggatt won at the Dayton Open, one of four Canadians to win on the Buy.Com Tour last year. He served as athletic director for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation of Tarrant County in Fort Worth, Tx., and was a former national speed skating champion of Canada.
6. CHRIS SMITH - Three-time holder of a PGA Tour card, the last time in 1999, Smith had seven top-10s and 13 top-25s. He established a Buy.Com record with five runner-up finishes and is No. 1 on the all-time Buy.Com money list with $605,332. He was out for seven weeks last year with a wrist injury incurred at the Omaha Classic. Smith has a drive of 427 yards at the 1999 Honda Classic, a PGA Tour record. He was an All-American at Ohio State in 1991 and Indiana State Amateur Champion in 1990.
7. KENT JONES - A member of the Buy.Com Tour for three years and the PGA Tour in 1998-99, Jones was the first two-time winner of the 2000 Buy.Com season. He won both the Shreveport Open and the Greensboro Open. His 263 score broke a Buy.Com Greensboro record. College teammate of PGA Tour's Tim Herron at New Mexico, he played the Canadian Tour in 1993 and 1994 and the Hooters Tour in 1995.
8. TRIPP ISENHOUR - Isenhour is playing on the PGA Tour the first year, having been a member of the Buy.Com Tour for four years. He won a Buy.Com event for the first time last year when he won the Mississippi Gulf Coast tournament. A native of Saulsbury, N.C., Isenhour went to Georgia Tech and graduated in 1990. He was an All-American at Georgia Tech in 1990.
9. PAUL GOW - This Aussie was a four-year Buy.Com performer, having played the tour from 1996 to last year. He joined the American tour after playing five events on his native Australian Tour. He played 15 Buy.Com events last year and finished in the top 10 in nine of them. Included among his high finishes was a win at the Hershey Open. Winner of the 2000 Canon Challenge, he finished sixth last year on the Australian Order of Merit (money ranking.)
10. JOHN RIEGGER - This 38-year-old was a member of the Buy.Com Tour back in 1991, but after a tie for third in the Tour Championship, he moved up from the No. 16 position to gain another PGA Tour card. He earned more money last year ($200,904) than he had in 29 starts on the regular tour in 1998 ($150,874.) Riegger was the winner of the 1985 Southland Classic as a collegian at Lamar University. He has also won several international titles.
11. DAVID BERGANIO, JR. - Berganio is a four-year Buy.Com performer - 1996 and 1998-2000 - after playing on the PGA Tour for one year. He had a victory in the 2000 Wichita Open and had four top-10 finishes. He was introduced to the game while growing up in an economically depressed area of Los Angeles by a local priest who gave him his first set of clubs. A college career at the University of Arizona followed with Berganio turning pro in 1993.
12. JEFF GALLAGHER - Hailing from the golfing Gallagher family - Brother Jim, Jr., was a former Ryder Cupper and sister Jackie Gallagher-Smith plays the LPGA - Jeff has been a member of the PGA Tour three of the past six years. The other eight he has played the Buy.Com, since its establishment in 1990. He played in 14 events in 2000 and finished in the top 10 six times, including a victory in the South Carolina Classic. He stands ninth of the all-time Buy.Com money list.
13. J.J. HENRY - His first year on the PGA Tour coming up, Henry was a member of the Buy.Com in 1999 and 2000. He entered 29 events in 2000 and finished in the top 10 five times. Henry won the Knoxville Open and added holes-in-one at the Greater Cleveland Classic and the Tri-Cities. The 1998 Co-College Player of the Year, he was undefeated in four years of high school competition. Brother Kevin is a member of the University of Tulsa golf team.
14. KELLY GRUNEWALD - A Texan by birth, Grunewald played just one year on the Buy.Com Tour. Nine times he finished in the top 10, six times in the top five. He failed, however, to break though with a victory. Leading money-winner of the 1999 TearDrop Tour and 1995 Lone Star Tour Player of the Year, Grunewald was also Southland Conference Player of the Year.
15. JEFF HART - Forty-year-old grinder who has been off and on the PGA Tour since turning pro in 1983. He captured his first victory at the Buy.Com Steamtown Classic last year. The victory came in his 209th professional event - 129 PGA Tour events and 80 on the Buy.Com. Had his best season on the regular tour in 1989, when he finished 169th on the money list. Jeff is a 1981 third-team All-American at Southern California, and 1982 first-teamer.
Luke List, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood and Tiger Woods at the 2018 Honda Classic Getty Images

Honda leaders face daunting final day

By Randall MellFebruary 25, 2018, 12:46 am

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The winner may need a cut man in his corner more than he needs a caddie on his bag in Sunday’s finish to the Honda Classic.

Smelling salts might come in handy, too.

“It just feels like you are getting punched in the face every single hole here,” Daniel Berger said of the test PGA National’s Champion Course offers. “Every single shot is so hard.”

Final rounds have been especially rough and tumble since the Honda Classic moved to PGA National in 2007.

That usually makes Sundays here as much about who can figuratively take a punch as who can throw one.

Luke List will have his jaw tested after taking sole possession of the lead Saturday with a second consecutive round of 4-under-par 66, but he can take comfort in the fact that punishment is doled plentifully around here.

“Just realizing that everyone is facing the same obstacles out there is huge,” List said. “You're not alone out there, if you make a bogey or a bad swing here or there.”

At 7-under 203, List is one shot ahead of a pair of major championship winners, Justin Thomas (65) and Webb Simpson (66). He is two ahead of Tommy Fleetwood (67), the reigning European Tour Player of the Year, and Jamie Lovemark (68).

List, 33, is seeking his first PGA Tour title in his 104th start. He will have to hold off some heavyweights, including Tiger Woods (69), who is seven shots back but feeling like he has a chance again. Woods closed with a 62 here six years ago when he finished second to Rory McIlroy.

“You never know what can happen the last few holes here,” Woods said. “A lot of things can happen and have happened in the past.”


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Crazy things have happened here.

Three years ago, Padraig Harrington was five shots down with eight holes to play and won. He made two double bogeys in the final round but ended up beating Berger in a playoff.

Berger, by the way, was nine shots back entering the final round.

That was the year Ian Poulter took a share of lead into Sunday, hit five balls in the water and still finished just a shot out of the playoff.

Last year, Rickie Fowler made four bogeys and a double bogey in the final round and still won by four shots.

List will have a heavyweight playing alongside him in the final pairing, with 24-year-old Justin Thomas looking to claim his eighth PGA Tour title. Thomas was last season’s PGA Tour Player of the Year.

List has never held a 54-hole lead in a PGA Tour event.

“You guys build up certain players,” List said. “I know I'll be an underdog going against Justin Thomas and guys like that, which is fine.”

There is some inspiration for List in what Ted Potter Jr. did two weeks at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Potter, largely unknown even though he already had a PGA Tour title to his credit, held off stars Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day in the final round to win. 

Thomas earned the right to play alongside List in the final pairing Sunday with his 65, which equaled the low round of the tournament.

Thomas makes his home in nearby Jupiter and knows the punishment the Champion Course can dish out.

“It's a difficult course,” Thomas said. “If you let it get to you, it can be frustrating, but if you go into it understanding and realizing it's difficult, you just kind of embrace it and deal with it.”

Thomas played the Bear Trap’s trio of daunting holes (Nos. 15-17) in 2 under on Saturday. He birdied the 15th and 17th holes.

Fleetwood got in contention Saturday with a pair of eagles. He’s a four-time European Tour winner.

“I would love to get my first win on the PGA Tour this week,” he said. “It’s just great to be out here. It's great to be playing on courses like this that are such a test of every part of your game.”

Alex Noren, a nine-time European Tour winner, is also seeking his first PGA Tour title. He is three shots back. He lost in a playoff to Day at the Farmers Insurance Open last month.

Though this is just Noren’s second start at the Honda Classic, he knows how wildly momentum can swing on the Champion Course. He shot 65 Saturday after shooting 75 on Friday.

“I’m a few back, but anything can happen,” Noren said.

That’s the theme around here.

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Thomas: Winning hometown Honda would 'mean a lot'

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 24, 2018, 11:53 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Justin Thomas is trying to join Rickie Fowler as a winner of his hometown event.

Thomas will play in the final group alongside Luke List on Sunday at the Honda Classic after matching the low round of the week with a 5-under 65. He is at 6-under 204, one shot back of List.

The reigning PGA Tour Player of the Year is one of several residents of nearby Jupiter. After Fowler won last year, Thomas (who missed the cut) returned to the course to congratulate his neighbor on his fourth Tour title.

“I hope I give him the opportunity or the choice to come back,” Thomas said. “But I’ve got a lot of golf in front of me before I worry about him coming here.”

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More important to Thomas, however, is winning this event, which is played at PGA National, one of the most difficult non-major courses on Tour.

“It would mean a lot,” he said. “It means a lot to win any golf tournament, but it would mean more because of how prestigious this golf tournament is and the list of winners that have won this event, how strong of a field it is, how difficult of a golf course.

“A decent number of my wins have been on easier golf courses, so it would be cool to get it done at a place like this.”

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Woods paired with hotshot rookie Burns at Honda

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 24, 2018, 11:38 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Rookie Sam Burns will be in the biggest spot of his career Sunday – playing alongside Tiger Woods.

Burns, the reigning Nicklaus Award winner who turned pro after two standout years at LSU, will go off with Woods at 12:45 p.m. at the Honda Classic.

Burns, 20, who earned his Tour card via Q-School, is playing this week on a sponsor exemption, his fourth of the season. He is 13th on the money list this year, after a tie for second two weeks ago in Colombia.

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Burns and Woods are tied for 11th, at even-par 210.

Sunday is an important round for Burns, who can earn a spot into the Valspar Championship with a top-10 finish here.

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List leads Honda; Thomas one back

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 24, 2018, 11:25 pm

Luke List, one of a legion of PGA Tour players who live in Jupiter, just two exits up I-95 from PGA National, shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to take a one-shot lead after three rounds of the Honda Classic. Here's how things stand going into the final round at PGA National:

Leaderboard: Luke List (-7), Justin Thomas (-6), Webb Simpson (-6), Tommy Fleetwood (-5), Jamie Lovemark (-5), Alex Noren (-4) 

What it means: Leader List has played well this season, with no finish lower than T-26 in six starts. Thomas, of course, is the reigning Player of the Year. The next best pedigree among the leaders belongs to Simpson, winner of the 2012 U.S. Open and three other PGA Tour titles.

Round of the day: Thomas and Noren both shot 5-under 65s. Thomas made two of his six birdies in the Bear Trap (at the par 3s, Nos. holes 15 and17), while Noren played that stretch (15-17) in 1 over. Noren made his hay elsewhere, including an eagle at the last that canceled out his two bogeys.

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Best of the rest: List, Simpson and Kelly Kraft all shot 66.

Biggest disappointment: After an opening 76, Jimmy Walker probably thought he was back on track with a 68 that allowed him to make the cut. Alas, the improvement was temporary, as he ballooned back to a 74 on Saturday.

Shot of the day: Tommy Fleetwood hit a fairway wood from 282 yards to within 8 feet of the cup on the 18th hole. He then made the putt for his second eagle of the day.

Quote of the day: "The course played a fair bit easier with not as much wind." - Thomas

Biggest storyline going into Sunday: List may be in the lead, but most eyes will be on Thomas, a five-time winner last year who has yet to lift a trophy in 2018. And of course, more than a few people will be keeping tabs on Tiger Woods. He'll begin the day seven shots back, trying to channel Tiger of 2012 - when he posted a 62 on Sunday at PGA National (which was good only for a runner-up finish to Rory McIlroy).