NAPA, Calif. – While many players are preparing for an unfamiliar venue this week at the Frys.com Open, as Silverado Resort & Spa plays host to the PGA Tour for the first time since 1980, Patrick Rodgers feels right at home.
It was just five months ago that Rodgers was putting the finishing touches on his career at Stanford, one in which he tied a school record for wins previously held by Tiger Woods. Now embarking on his first full season as a professional, Rodgers received a sponsor invite to the season-opening event where he – along with former Stanford teammate Cameron Wilson and former Cal standout Max Homa – will likely be a crowd favorite.
“It’s a really special week ... even more special to be back here in the Bay Area and to come back here where it feels like home,” Rodgers said. “It’s the first time I’ve been back to the Bay Area since I left school, and I’m really excited to be back.”
Rodgers turned pro following the NCAA Championship in May, hoping to follow in the footsteps of Jordan Spieth by turning a handful of sponsor exemptions into a PGA Tour card. While Rodgers made the cut in five of his seven PGA Tour starts last season, he finished no better than T-39 and was hampered by an ill-timed oblique injury that forced him out of both the Wyndham Championship and the first stop of the Web.com Tour Finals.
He bounced back from the disabled list to finish T-8 at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship last month, and now will be fully exempt on the Web.com Tour in 2015. Before that, though, he plans to build some momentum with a few more cracks on the main circuit, having secured sponsor invites at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and OHL Classic at Mayakoba beyond this week’s start at Silverado.
“I’m going to try to play as many Fall Series events as I can, hopefully parlay some good play into some more events,” he said. “I’m really excited about those opportunities and hopefully (can) make the most of them.”