By STEVE WILLIAMS
The winner of this year’s Wyndham Championship could trace his success to Bermuda Run Country Club.
That’s where the event qualifier will be played this year – on the Monday before the tournament begins Thursday, Aug. 14, at Sedgefield Country Club’s Donald Ross Course.
Monday qualifiers rarely win on the PGA Tour, in fact there have been only two. The last time was 2010 and it happened in Greensboro. Arjun Atwal Monday qualified and went on to win the Wyndham Championship, duplicating the feat of Fred Wadsworth some 24 years earlier at the 1986 Southern Open.
So there’s always hope.
That’s why 156 players will gather at Bermuda Run Country Club’s East Course for the pre-qualifier on Thursday, Aug. 7. All will be shooting for one of the 40 spots (plus ties) that will advance to the Monday qualifier. There they will join approximately 60 other players who were exempt from the pre-qualifier, all hoping to claim one of the four spots in the Wyndham Championship.
Players exempt for the pre-qualifier include members of the PGA Tour, the Web.com Tour, and players who have made a cut in a PGA Tour event this season.
Last year’s Wyndham winner Patrick Reed knows the Monday qualifying drill. In 2012, his stepping stones to full-time PGA Tour status took that route. He successfully Monday qualified for half of the 12 PGA Tour events he started and made the cut in five of those with three top-25 finishes. Although he still had to return to Q-School following that season, it was key experience he needed.
Back in 2010, Atwal was one of four players to shoot 67 at Forest Oaks Country Club on that fateful Monday and he was obviously a surprise winner of the Wyndham, even to himself.
“Guys are going to be out there trying to secure their FedEx Cup spots or whatever,” he said at the time. “We’ve got nothing. I don’t have a card. I don’t have anything. Just go out there and free-wheel it, and that’s what I did this week.”
The staff and members Bermuda Run will certainly be watching as the qualifying events unfold.
“It’s good for us,” said Bermuda Run’s head professional Nathan Broyles. “The club has a history of hosting big events.”
Two NCAA Championships were played there (1979 and 1986) and the Carolinas Golf Association has used the course for qualifiers and championships since the mid-70s, including three N.C. Amateurs. Most recently, the N.C. Senior Four-ball was played there last August.
“It’s good to get some events on the schedule that are very competitive,” Broyles added. “The golf course is really good – fun to play and challenging. It’ll be good to see how these guys play the golf course.”