Sixty golfers are looking for their shot at the Cinderella story of receiving one of 25 glass slippers to join the 2013 PGA Tour at this week’s Web.Com Tour Championship at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas.
The 60 players will be playing for the largest purse of the year with $1 million at stake and the winner receiving $180,000. Of course, the larger prize is exemption on the PGA Tour and having the chance to play for millions each week. All 60 players will have their chance to be next year’s Tommy Gainey, a Web.Com alum. Gainey shot a final-round 60 (there’s that number again) for his first victory at The McGladrey Classic last week in Sea Island, Ga.
The winner will have to go low on a tour known for birdie barrages. But this week, it may be the player who can make pars coming home under the mounting pressure of winning a tournament, hundreds of thousands of dollars and achieving a life long dream.
There figure to be more than a few shaky hands and sweaty palms for players in the back of the field looking to get within the top 25. Every player in the field can guarantee themselves a card by finishing in second alone or winning the tournament.
Only $74,038 separates No. 25, Camilo Benedetti and No. 60, Ben Martin, who is coming off a third place finish to earn a spot in the field. PGA Tour veteran Duffy Waldorf missed out on a spot in the field finishing in 61st on the money list by a measly $347.
Casey Wittenburg leads the tour in money earnings winning $407,453 in 23 events. Next year, he could earn that much in one event and not even win the tournament.
Russell Henley comes into the week after winning in a playoff against at the Jacksonville Open. Henley, who won previously this year at the Chiquita Classic, moved from ninth to third place and one step closer to his card.
It wasn’t all bad for Staten though who earned enough to make the final 60. He entered the week at 69th on the money list but jumped to 32nd and into the championship field with a shot at the top 25.
The TPC at Craig Ranch sets up for an exciting finish on Nos. 14 through 18. The stretch starts with the drivable 330-yard par-4, 14th hole with water down the left hand side. For those comfortably in the field, it’s an iron off the tee and wedge in. For a player outside the top 25 or looking to make up shots to win on Sunday, they may pull out the driver hoping for eagle.
The 216-yard, 15th hole will test the nerve of the players with a long iron shot over water with more water on the left side protecting the green. Par will be a good score on the 492-yard 16th hole before the manageable 171-yard par-three 17th.
The final hole is a 552-yard par 5 offering the boom or bust finish fans will love. Long hitters will have no problem trying to reach in two but will have to contend with the pond protecting the front.
For 25 golfers, their dream starts Sunday. For the rest, its off to Q-school and back to the drawing board.