Allred on the cusp of Tour status at Wyndham

By Will GrayAugust 16, 2014, 2:10 pm

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The PGA Tour isn’t typically the backdrop for a Cinderella story.

Out here the rich get richer, by virtue of invitational tournaments and limited-field events with no cuts, and those on the outside are left with few avenues for quick ascent.

But then again, there are exceptions to every rule. Just ask Jason Allred.

A mild-mannered veteran from Scottsdale, Ariz., Allred began the year with only conditional status on the Web.com Tour, and no PGA Tour status whatsoever. After making the most of several chances in 2014, though, the 34-year-old heads into the weekend at the Wyndham Championship on the cusp of earning his card for next season.

Allred had a decorated junior golf career, highlighted by a victory over Trevor Immelman at the 1997 U.S. Junior Amateur. He played full-time on the PGA Tour in both 2005 and 2008, but hasn’t been on the big stage regularly since. After finishing T-95 at Web.com Tour Q-School last fall, he assumed that his 2014 schedule would take him to places like Valdosta, Wichita and Knoxville – if he was lucky.


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“I was way down the list. I wasn’t going to get in many of those events without qualifying,” Allred said. “Early on in the year, my plan was just to play my heart out in qualifiers there. Since I had some conditional status, I knew that if I would play well I might get into the reshuffle.”

His plans quickly changed in February, when he earned one of four spots available at a Monday qualifier for the Northern Trust Open. Allred made the cut, then shot 67-68 over the weekend at Riviera to finish tied for third, his best career result. He left L.A. with a six-figure check and enough non-member FedEx Cup points to clinch a spot in the Web.com Tour Finals this fall, where he would be able to potentially earn a PGA Tour card for 2015.

Except Allred didn’t stop there.

He went on to Monday qualify at three more PGA Tour stops – the HP Byron Nelson Championship, Travelers Championship and RBC Canadian Open. He also turned a pair of sponsor invites into big results, finishing T-15 at the Memorial after receiving a spot in the field at the 11th hour and tying for sixth last month at the Barracuda Championship, where he played in the final group on Sunday.

“He’s taken advantage of every opportunity,” said caddie Keith Nolan. “He’s earned a lot, but he’s also been fortunate. He’s just enjoyed every minute of it.”

It all means that Allred has plenty to play for this week at Sedgefield Country Club, site of the final regular-season event of 2013-14. As a non-member, he would become fully exempt for next year if he made the equivalent of a spot in the top 125 on either the season-long FedEx Cup points list or the money list.

While he’s relatively far back in terms of FedEx Cup points, Allred’s $612,477 haul is only $35,409 behind Bud Cauley for the No. 125 spot on the money list. Likely needing at least a top-25 finish to earn his card, he heads into the weekend in Greensboro tied for 28th after rounds of 69 and 66.

“I really hoped and dreamed this year might go this way, but to actually be here is such a thrill,” Allred said. “I hope I can hang on, but I have nothing to lose. Just play free.”

Even an unsuccessful trip through the four-event Finals series could yield full-time status on the Web.com Tour for 2015, an improvement from where Allred stood just six months ago. In an era where it can sometimes take players years to graduate from a developmental circuit to the PGA Tour, he has skipped several steps by displaying an uncanny affinity for one of golf’s biggest pressure-cookers: the Monday qualifier.

“I don’t feel like I’m old, but at the same time I’ve been doing this a long time,” he said. “I feel like if I show up there on Monday, just glad for the chance, it’s already a leg up on the field. Someone’s got to make it, and it’s a chance.

“I also feel like there’s a tendency to be teased into thinking you have to be crazy aggressive and make everything, and I feel like if you just play a good, solid round and play the percentages, it doesn’t mean you’re going to make it every time, but you’ll have a good chance.”

With a PGA Tour card now potentially just 36 holes away, Nolan has been focused on keeping his player’s attention on the task at hand, not on standings or projections.

“There are so many different scenarios,” Nolan said. “The hardest part this week is everybody congratulating him on the year that he’s had so far, thinking he’s done enough, but he hasn’t. It’s head down, hit the shot in front of you.

“We talk about ‘the circle.’ He takes care of everything inside the circle, and I’m in charge of the rest. As long as he does the right thing going into the circle, the results will show up.”

The typical career arc in golf does not include a breakthrough year at age 34, but Allred veered from the script long ago. Holding his daughter, Lucy, the youngest of three children who was born just eight days after his season turned on a dime at Riviera, he explained that he’s not shying away from the stakes this weekend.

Even if the end result is a travel schedule that includes Midland and Springfield, instead of Memphis and Scottsdale.

“I figure there’s probably no way to avoid it. I’m doing my best not to be afraid of it,” he said. “I’m definitely aware that with a good week it could mean some great things work-wise for next year, but I’m hopeful that I can hang on the truth for me that if I go play my heart out, I’m not a different person on Monday morning whether I’m on the Tour or not.”

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Nadal checks phone for Tiger update after match

By Grill Room TeamAugust 15, 2018, 3:04 pm

Even the greatest athletes in the world were captivated by Tiger Woods' Sunday run at the PGA Championship.

After winning his match on Sunday to capture the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Rafa Nadal turned his attention to Woods. Cameras focused on Nadal scrolling through and surveying his phone. He then revealed that he was trying to get a Tiger update from the PGA Championship, where Woods made a spirited run to solo second place.



Woods has often been seen at tennis events, watching Nike buddies Roger Federer (no longer primarily sponsored by Nike) and Nadal. Woods and his children watched from Nadal's box during the 2017 U.S. Open and Nadal was on hand at the 2017 Hero World Challenge, when Woods made his return from back surgery.

For the record, Woods has 14 major wins and Nadal has 17 Grand Slam titles, both second all-time in their respective sports.

Check out the video below as Golf World's Anna Whiteley talks to Nadal about his love of golf in the 2016 interview.

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U.S. Amateur playoff: 24 players for 1 spot in match play

By Associated PressAugust 15, 2018, 1:21 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer and Daniel Hillier were tied at the top after two rounds of the U.S. Amateur, but the more compelling action on Tuesday was further down the leaderboard.

Two dozen players were tied for 64th place after two rounds of stroke play at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. With the top 64 advancing to match play, that means all 24 will compete in a sudden-death playoff Wednesday morning for the last spot in the knockout rounds.


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They'll be divided into six foursomes and start the playoff at 7:30 a.m. on the par-3 17th at Pebble Beach, where Tom Watson chipped in during the 1982 U.S. Open and went on to win.

The survivor of the playoff will face the 19-year-old Hillier in match play. The New Zealander shot a 2-under 70 at Spyglass Hill to share medalist honors with the 18-year-old Hammer at 6 under. Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas who played in the 2015 U.S. Open at age 15, shot 68 at Spyglass Hill.

Stewart Hagestad had the low round of the day, a 5-under 66 at Pebble Beach, to move into a tie for 10th after opening with a 76 at Spyglass Hill. The 27-year-old Hagestad won the 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur and earned low amateur honors at the 2017 Masters.

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Hammer in position (again) to co-medal at U.S. Am

By Ryan LavnerAugust 14, 2018, 10:37 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer is in position to go for a rare sweep in this summer’s biggest events.

Two weeks ago, Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas, was the co-medalist at the Western Amateur and went on to take the match-play portion, as well.

Here at the U.S. Amateur, Hammer shot rounds of 69-68 and was once again in position to earn co-medalist honors. At 6-under 137, he was tied with 19-year-old Daniel Hillier of New Zealand.

“It would mean a lot, especially after being medalist at the Western Am,” Hammer said afterward. “It’s pretty special.”

No stroke-play medalist has prevailed in the 64-man match-play bracket since Ryan Moore in 2004. Before that, Tiger Woods (1996) was the most recent medalist champion.  


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On the strength of his Western Am title, Hammer, 18, has soared to No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He credited his work with swing coach Cameron McCormick and mental coach Bob Rotella.

“Just really started controlling my iron shots really well,” said Hammer, who has worked with McCormick since 2015, when he qualified for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay as a 15-year-old.

“Distance control with my wedges and all my iron shots, playing different shots, has become really a strength in my game. I’ve really turned the putter on this year, and I’m seeing the lines and matching the line with the speed really well. I think that’s been the key to my summer.”

A two-time New Zealand Amateur champion, Hillier is ranked 27th in the world. He said that, entering the tournament, he would have been pleased just to make it to match play.

“But to come out on top, it’s amazing,” Hillier said. “Cole is a really good golfer and has been playing well lately. So, yeah, I’m in good company.”

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Tee times, TV schedule, stats for Wyndham Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 14, 2018, 9:55 pm

It's the last tournament of the PGA Tour's regular season as the top 125 in the FedExCup points list advance to next week's playoff event. Here's the key info for the Wyndham Championship. (Click here for tee times)

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.


Purse: $6 million

Course: Sedgefield Country Club (par 70, 7,127 yards)

Defending champion: Henrik Stenson. Last year he defeated Ollie Schniederjans by one stroke to earn his sixth career PGA Tour win.


Notables in the field

Henrik Stenson at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Henrik Stenson

• Missed the cut last week at the PGA Championship

• Six top-10 finishes this year, including T-5 at the Masters and T-6 at the U.S. Open


Sergio Garcia

• Eight missed cuts in last 10 PGA Tour starts

• Currently 131 in FedExCup standings (33 points back of 125th)


Webb Simpson

• Five top-10 finishes in this event since 2010 (won in 2011)

• 56 under par in last five years in this event (best of any player in that span)