Nationwide Tour players to watch

  • Mark Anderson during the 2009 U.S. Amateur. Anderson finished 60th as a rookie on last year’s Nationwide Tour. Then he did the unthinkable: he opted not to play in Q-School, even though he was exempt into second stage. Anderson reasoned that he needed another year of training on the Nationwide Tour before a potential leap to the PGA Tour. He was in the top 25 early in the season after top-10s in three of his first seven starts, but didn’t post another top-10 in his final 19 starts.
  • Dustin Garza won 12 times at Wichita State, and was a first-team All-American as a senior in 2010. He had to advance through four stages of Q-School, including a victory at first stage, to earn Nationwide Tour status. He also won in his only start on the Adams Pro Golf Series last year.
  • Jason Gore at the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst. Gore was struggling big time last year until a victory at the Miccosukee Championship. Before that win in mid-October, he hadn’t posted a top-25 in 27 PGA and Nationwide events. Gore is playing some decent golf to start 2011. He tied for 29th at the Bob Hope Classic and Monday qualified for both the Farmers Insurance Open (T-77) and Northern Trust Open (#). He’ll have past champion’s status on the PGA Tour, but will likely make the majority of his starts on the Nationwide Tour.
  • James Hahn
  • Danny Lee at No. 9 on Crooked Cat. Lee shot a first round 74. Outlook for 2011: Like many players on the Nationwide Tour, Lee is trying to get his career back on track. He won the 2008 U.S. Amateur, then became the youngest winner in European Tour history with his victory at the ’09 Johnnie Walker Classic. He had a dismal 2010 on the European Tour, posting just one top 25. Lee has made three of four cuts in Europe this year, and is planning on playing the Nationwide Tour’s first three events.
  • Richard Lee hits his tee shot at No. 9 on Panther Lake. Outlook for 2011: Lee, who turned pro in 2010 after playing at Washington, survived three stages of Q-School before suffering heartbreak at finals. He bogeyed Nos. 15 and 16 in the final round to miss his PGA Tour card by a single shot. Lee comes from an unconventional golf background. He spent part of his high-school years in Asia, where he focused solely on his golf career. He returned to the States, passed the GED and attended a community college before becoming an All-American in both of his seasons at Washington.
  • Won Joon Lee hits out of the bamboo at No. 9 on Crooked Cat. Outlook for 2011: Lee led the Nationwide Tour in driving distance in 2008 (315.7 yards) and 2009 (312.7 yards), which earned him the nickname “Boom Boom.” He’s improved from 50th to 47th to 36th on the money list the last three years. The Korean-born player grew up in Australia, and was medalist at the # Western Amateur.
  • Outlook for 2011: Chris Nallen, a member of the 2003 Walker Cup team, made it look easy when he won the 2004 Gila River Golf Classic, his Nationwide Tour debut, by eight shots. Nallen shot 63 to Monday qualify for the event, then fired 60 in the first round. That remains his only Nationwide Tour victory. Last year, he looked like he was going to graduate from the Nationwide Tour for the first time. He was as high as No. 16 on the money list, but finished 31st after missing five of his final seven cuts. He made less than $7,000 in those seven events.
  • 2011 outlook, Alistair Presnell: After finishing 28th on the Nationwide Tour money list in 2009, he finished 37th last year with $164,707. He surpassed those season earnings in one magnificent week on the PGA Tour. Presnell shot a final-round 64 at last year’s WGC-CA Championship to finish sixth and earn $214,300. He got into the CA because of his finish on the PGA Tour of Australasia money list. Presnell was No. 24 on the Nationwide money list after a runner-up finish at last September’s WNB Golf Classic, but made just $11,185 over his final five events to fall to 37th.
  • Danny Wax hits a shot at No. 9 on Crooked Cat during the first round. Outlook for 2011: Wax
Wax was No. 111 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings when he graduated Denver in 2009. He’s made it to the Nationwide Tour much faster than many of his higher-ranked peers, though. He finished T-59 at last December’s Q-School after starting the final round in 36th place, and in contention for a PGA Tour card. He’s made the cut in four of five career Nationwide starts, highlighted by a T-17 at the 2009 Gretzky. Wax also finished 44th at last year’s Frys.Com Open on the PGA Tour.
  • Roberto Castro during Friday's round of the 2010 PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament at Orange County National, in Winter Garden, FL. Outlook for 2011: Castro started 2010 without status on the Nationwide Tour, but finished 62nd on the money list. He was runner-up to Jhonattan Vegas in the Wichita Open and finished in the top 25 in six of 12 starts. The former Georgia Tech All-American also won on the eGolf Professional Tour last year. He earned a combined $188,442 on the eGolf, Hooters and Nationwide tours last year.