Five up-and-comers to keep on the radar
In each of the past two Nationwide Tour events, players have come off the mini-tours to play their way into Nationwide cards (non-members earn status by surpassing the earnings of No. 100 on last year’s money list). The accomplishments of Russell Knox, who finished second at last month’s Fresh Express Classic, and Ted Potter Jr., winner of last week’s South Georgia Classic, prove that there’s plenty of talent outside of the Nationwide Tour’s ranks. Here are five players from the mini-tour ranks that you should get to know:
• Will Wilcox: Wilcox won on the Canadian and Hooters tours last year and was the 2010 Hooters Tour rookie of the year. He’s third on the Hooters money list this year, with a win and a runner-up in his past three starts. He Monday qualified for this week’s Stadion Athens UGA Classic on the Nationwide Tour.
• Adam Hadwin: Hadwin won on the Canadian Tour in 2011 and 2010, finishing second on the money list to Aaron Goldberg last year. Hadwin, a Canadian who played college golf at Louisville, finished 37th at last year’s RBC Canadian Open.
• Julian Etulain: The leading money winner on last year’s Tour de Las Americas, Etulain earned sponsor exemptions into the Nationwide Tour’s two South American stops. He finished third and 13th in those events and ranks 20th on the money list. Without status on the tour, Etulain, an Argentine who lives in Miami, has to rely on Monday qualifying and sponsor exemptions for additional starts. Etulain also finished 42nd at the Puerto Rico Open on the PGA Tour.
• Charlie Beljan: The 2002 U.S. Junior champion, Beljan has won two of his past four starts on the Arizona-based Gateway Tour and hasn’t finished worse than sixth in that span. He’s 55-under par in those 12 rounds. Included in that total was his 11-under 60 at Lone Tree Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz.
• Brian Harman: Harman, a two-time member of the U.S. Walker Cup team, finished 24th at last week’s South Georgia Classic to earn a spot in the Stadion Athens UGA Classic; Harman, a Georgia alum, finished 18th at the event last year. The lefty was third on last year’s eGolf Professional Tour money list, with 11 top 10s in 14 starts.