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Emotional Alejandro Tosti Monday qualifies for Sanderson Farms

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Almost immediately after making a birdie putt to get through a 5-for-4 playoff at this week’s Monday qualifier for the Sanderson Farms Championship, Alejandro Tosti was in tears.

He had qualified for a PGA Tour event before, earlier this year in Puerto Rico, but a lot has changed since then for the 26-year-old Argentine.

After years of grinding in Latin America and on the mini-tours, Tosti is starting to finally see that dedication pay off.

Tosti starred collegiately for the Florida Gators before turning professional in 2018. Upon graduation, while many of his peers received loads of endorsements and sponsor invites, Tosti signed one deal (Cleveland/Srixon, who is still with him) but could only muster one sponsor exemption for the Korn Ferry Tour’s Utah Championship, where he made the cut on the number before tying for 44th. From there, he headed to the PGA Tour Latinoamerica, where he’s spent much of the past four years playing all over the world. To show how much he's traveled: Tosti reached lifetime-platinum status for American Airlines last year.

The expenses added up quickly, though, for Tosti, who tried to save money wherever he could. When his lease expired last summer, he spent the rest of the year staying with friends and family or host housing and the occasional Airbnb.

“My parents were not able to support me, so it was really stressful in the beginning to play golf under a lot of pressure,” Tosti said last year for an in-depth story about the realities of turning pro. “It was something that I was not ready for... You quickly start to realize how much each shot costs. Those missed shots can add up at the end of the year.”

Luckily for Tosti, despite his fair share of struggles, he played well enough to keep his career going. He won on PGA Tour Latinoamerica in 2019, but it wasn’t until this year that he was finally able to crack the top five in points on that tour. He won once and posted four top-10s this past season to finish No. 5 and earn his Korn Ferry Tour card for the first time.

While the new KFT season doesn’t begin until next year, Tosti is already benefitting from his new status. In the past, he’s rarely tried to Monday qualify for PGA Tour events because of the costs and the requirement that he go through pre-qualifying.

Now, he’s exempt through pre-qualifying and has competed in each of the first two PGA Tour Mondays this fall.

“My percentage rate is high,” Tosti joked Tuesday via text.

"I've been playing well for a while," he added. "It was a matter of time for the good breaks to come."

Joining Tosti in Monday qualifying for Sanderson are Canadian journeyman Ben Silverman, Oklahoma product Quade Cummins and Texas' Cole Hammer, the former top-ranked amateur who helped lead the Longhorns to the NCAA title last spring. Rhein Gibson was the odd man out, being eliminated on the fourth playoff hole.