DALLAS – At this point, T.J. Vogel has gotten used to comments from other players as soon as he shows up on the range at a PGA Tour Monday qualifier.
“They just tell me we’re only playing for three spots,” Vogel said.
As many pros can attest, Monday qualifiers are among the toughest grinds out there: often more than 100 players, each hungry for a potential shot at a big payday, playing for one of four spots in that week’s event. Most times, players who don’t shoot 5 under or better can head home before the final scores are tallied.
But Vogel has become something of a Monday wizard this year, having qualified for five different events this season despite only having conditional status on the Web.com Tour. That includes this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson, where Vogel fired a 6-under 66 on Monday to finish second in the qualifier field.
“You’ve really got to have your good stuff that day, and it’s tough to just get out of bed and shoot 6 or 7 under,” Vogel said. “I’ve been fortunate enough that I’ve been playing really well. My putter has been hot, and that’s important for going low.”
Vogel’s success hasn’t just stopped at Monday, as he has made the cut in two of his four Tour starts this season. That includes a T-59 finish at Quail Hollow two weeks ago and a T-16 finish at the Valspar Championship in March, the latter of which he is using to finance a summer full of travel between longshot qualifiers.
Vogel’s goal is simply to earn enough non-member FedExCup points to qualify for Web.com Tour Finals this fall, and he believes his 47-point total has him more than halfway to that goal. His run of success in one of the toughest crucibles has drawn parallels to Masters champ Patrick Reed, who earned the moniker “Mr. Monday” when he successfully Monday qualified for six different Tour events in 2012.
“It’s very cool to be able to qualify for an event and be able to play at this level,” Vogel said. “What he did was pretty amazing. Obviously, that’s something I’m striving for.”
Vogel described his Web.com status as “not very good,” and he has the option to pursue Monday qualifiers on the developmental circuit. But he prefers to take his chances at securing a more lucrative payday than battle full fields of Web shootouts that might offer six qualifying spots instead of four.
“It might even be easier to qualify for this Tour simply because the courses that the PGA Tour sets the qualifiers up, they’re more difficult,” he said. “I feel like if you take a look at the numbers, a lot of the Web qualifiers you have to shoot 8 under. That was a playoff last week in Knoxville, whereas I shoot 6 (under) this week and I’m in, no playoff. I see that happening a lot.”