Breakdown of the 25 N'wide graduates

Ted Potter Jr.

Ted Potter Jr.

CHARLESTON, S.C. – A breakdown of the 25 Nationwide Tour graduates (*-will be PGA Tour rookie):

1. J.J. Killeen, 30, TCU, San Diego*

Credited work with instructor Chris O'Connell – whose other students include Matt Kuchar and Scott Piercy – for helping him to two-win season. A hot putter always helps, too. Led the tour in putting average (1.70 putts per green in regulation). He gets berth in the Players Championship and doesn't have to worry about reshuffles, a huge advantage.

• • •

2. Ted Potter, Jr., 27, N/A, Ocala, Fla.*

The two-time Hooters Tour player of the year needed a couple rough seasons before finding success on the Nationwide Tour. He displayed a new level of confidence this year to match his uber-aggressive style of play.

• • •

3. Mathew Goggin, 37, N/A, Australia

Goggin accompanied Tom Watson in the final group of the 2009 Open Championship and was once a top-50 player in the world. He struggled last year after being given some ill-fitting equipment, but is back on Tour after winning twice this year.

• • •

4. Jason Kokrak, 26, Xavier, Warren, Ohio*

He has more than enough length and confidence to play on the PGA Tour. One underrated aspect of his game: his wedge play. He’ll hit lots of those next year. He was the Nationwide Tour's driving distance leader (318.6 yards per tee shot).

• • •

5. Jonas Blixt, 27, Florida State, Sweden*

Was the highest-ranked player without a victory thanks to five top-fives – including three runners-up – in his final 10 starts. Credited improved driving accuracy, thanks to a change to a more upright swing, to his late run.

• • •

6. Danny Lee, 21, N/A, South Korea*

Lee was the 2008 U.S. Amateur winner and won on the European Tour in 2009 as an amateur, but lost his way in 2010. Work with instructor Bill Chuong to recapture his old swing has paid off.

• • •

7. Ken Duke, 42, Henderson State, Hope, Ark.

He was the only player to move into the top 25 on the money list on the final week. He did it in a big way, winning the Nationwide Tour Championship. The $180,000 winner's check represented 57.4 percent of his season earnings. Weight loss and increased core strength has him feeling better prepared for the PGA Tour.

• • •

8. Scott Brown, 28, South Carolina-Aiken, Augusta, Ga.*

Didn't rank better than 20th in any single statistical category, except the most-important one: money. He was 65th in driving accuracy and 89th in greens in regulation. He had five top-three finishes this year.

• • •

9. Gary Christian, 40, Auburn, England*

The 40-year-old called himself the "Little Engine That Could" for his persistence. He once worked as a bartender in South London and in pension administration to support his pro career.

• • •

10. Miguel Angel Carballo, 32, N/A, Argentina*

Came on strong late in the year with a win and runner-up in his final six events. The Argentine ranked 30th in driving distance (300.4 yards) but 105th in accuracy, hitting just 60 percent of his fairways.

• • •

11. Troy Kelly, 33, Washington, Tacoma, Wash.

He had an arthritic left hip replaced last year. The surgery has helped his full swing. He played through the pain in his rookie PGA Tour season of 2009, when he made just $25,828.

• • •

12. Russell Knox, 26, Jacksonville, Scotland*

The Scot started the season with no status, but Monday qualified his way to membership and his first PGA Tour card. He finished fourth in driving accuracy (73.6 percent) and eighth in greens in regulation (72.3), but 103rd in driving distance (288.4 yards).

• • •

13. Erik Compton, 31, Georgia, Miami*

The two-time heart transplant recipient will be one of the feel-good stories on the PGA Tour next year. Fatigue can be an issue for him, though.

• • •

14. John Mallinger, 32, Long Beach State, Escondido, Calif.

Started the season with conditional PGA Tour status, but earned his PGA Tour card in just nine starts, thanks to a record-tying six consecutive top-10s. Settled on a short putter this year after briefly going to the belly putter.

• • •

15. Kyle Thompson, 32, South Carolina, Panama City, Fla.

The former Gamecock played his one PGA Tour season in 2008, making the cut in nine of 26 starts with just one top-25. Finished first and second in consecutive weeks in June to clinch a return trip to the Tour.

• • •

16. Kyle Reifers, 28, Wake Forest, Columbus, Ohio

"I just went back to playing golf, and didn't really worry about what others were thinking," Reifers said. His T-2 in his hometown event, the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational, was worth $144,000 because he was beat by one amateur (Harris English) and tied another (John Peterson).

• • •

17. Gavin Coles, 43, Australia

A win at the season’s final full-field event – the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open – clinched his first Tour card since 2007. Ironically, the 5-foot-4 Australian says he must improve his short game, specifically from 120 yards and in.

• • •

18. Matt Every, 27, Florida, Daytona Beach, Fla.

Every's rookie season last year was interrupted by injury and off-course issues. The former Ben Hogan Award winner has the talent, but sometimes not the temperament, to stay on Tour when given a whole season.

• • •

19. Daniel Chopra

The two-time PGA Tour winner was demoted to the Nationwide Tour after finishing 176th on the money list in 2010. He started working with instructor Mitchell Spearman in late 2010 to get his game back on track.

• • •

20. Steve Wheatcroft, 33, Indiana, Indiana, Pa.

He set the tour record for largest margin of victory with a 12-shot win at the Melwood Prince George's County Open, where he shot a 29-under 255 for his first victory. He made $408,595 on the PGA Tour in 2010.

• • •

21. Garth Mulroy, 33, North Carolina State, South Africa

The South African averaged more than 300 yards off the tee and hit more than 70 percent of his greens, a nice combination. He made just six cuts in 19 starts on the PGA Tour last year with one top-10.

• • •

22. Mark Anderson, 25, South Carolina, Annapolis, Md.*

He intentionally bypassed Q-School last year to gain another year of experience before making his way to the PGA Tour. Now he'll see if it paid off.

• • •

23. Roberto Castro, 26, Georgia Tech, Alpharetta, Ga.*

The engineering grad from Georgia Tech will be one of the PGA Tour's unique personalities His dream foursome includes John Lennon and he writes for the Web site allthingsthataregood.com. His consistency – 13 top-25s in 25 starts – is a good sign.

• • •

24. Martin Flores, 29, Oklahoma, Fort Worth, Texas

The 2009 Q-School grad missed more than half his cuts on Tour last year, but another year of seasoning on the Nationwide Tour likely did him good. The long hitter was 20th on tour in birdies per round and 17th in scoring average.

• • •

25. Billy Hurley III, 29, Naval Academy, Leesburg, Va.*

Like Erik Compton, he's a feel-good story for the PGA Tour. He'll be a favorite for sponsor exemptions, which gives him an advantage over his fellow graduates. He could use a few more yards – he averaged 273.8 off the tee – but was eighth on tour in accuracy.

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