By Michael Curet, PGATOUR.COM Contributor
New York native Bryan Bigley, who splits time as a pro golfer and a member of the grounds crew at Raintree Country Club in Charlotte, secured a spot into the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow for the second year in a row with a round of 64 in the Monday qualifier. The event was held at the Donald Ross-designed Carolina Golf Club on Charlotte’s west side.
Former Augusta State golfer Patrick Reed, coming off successful back-to-back PGA TOUR finishes at the Valero Texas Open (T35) and Zurich Classic of New Orleans (T23), fired a 5-under 65 to join Bigley in the field. It was the second straight week that the 21-year-old Reed qualified into a PGA TOUR event.
Nick Flanagan and Frank Adams III eventually emerged after a 10-man playoff for the final two Monday qualifier spots. Also in the playoff at 66 were Brendan Gielow, Billy Horschel, Matthew Mincer, Jerry Richardson, Chris Epperson, Chris Thompson, Lanto Griffin and Frank Lickliter.
“This was just about the largest qualifier I’ve ever seen,” said Carolinas PGA section Tournament Director Cory Armstrong, referring to the playoff. “We broke up in two groups of five on the 10th and 18th holes, starting Monday evening and finishing Tuesday morning. We went five holes just to get it down to the final qualifying spot and Nick (Flanagan) birdied about a 3-foot putt on the sixth hole of the playoff.”
Within hours of signing his card, the 27-year-old Bigley, who played collegiately at Siena College before moving to the Charlotte area, posted a message on his blog thanking fans and expressing his excitement about returning to the PGA TOUR field.
“For some reason, Donald Ross courses always seem to fit my eye as I have a lot of success on his layouts,” Bigley said. “I am hoping to play better this year than I did last as I am now more familiar with what goes on inside the ropes.”
Bigley missed the cut a year ago at Quail Hollow with rounds of 78 and 76. Prior to last year, Bigley was unsuccessful in attempting to qualify in six previous PGA TOUR events. He finished 2011 by reaching the second stage of q school.
Flanagan, the 27-year-old Australian who turned pro in 2004, is no stranger to the PGA TOUR, making 16 of 29 cuts in his rookie season in 2008 – including a tie for ninth at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. He had won three times on the Nationwide Tour in 2007 to finish No. 3 on the money list and earn his card.
Adams, a 32-year-old who played collegiately at East Carolina, is making his PGA TOUR debut this week. He has made two Nationwide Tour starts, missing the cut each time. His bother, Russ, is a former major league baseball player for the Toronto Blue Jays now playing in the Baltimore Orioles’ farm system. Another brother, Stewart, played college football nearby at Appalachian State University.