- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
Four former University of Georgia golfers -- led by winner Brendon Todd -- claimed PGA Tour cards Monday by placing in the top 25 in the final stage at PGA Tour Qualifying School at La Quinta, Calif.
Todd did his fellow former Bulldogs one better, completing the grueling six-round final stage with a one-stroke victory. (Scoreboard)
Todd shot a 4-under 68 Monday to finish at 17 under, one stroke better than Stephen Gangluff and two ahead of Bobby Gates and Seung-yul Noh.
“At the beginning of the week, you’ve got your eye on the top 25. You set out every week to win, but wins are a dream come true -- especially at this high level,” Todd said in his post-round interview on the Golf Channel. “Today I got to play with my teammate Brian Harman and we had a good time out there telling jokes. Today was fun.”
Harman finished in a tie for eighth at 13 under, a stroke better than former teammate Kevin Kisner, who tied for 11th. Harris English, a 2011 all-American who became only the third amateur winner on the Nationwide Tour when he won the Children’s Hospital Invitational in July, finished in a tie for 13th at 11 under.
The July win secured a 2012 spot for English on the Nationwide Tour -- the satellite circuit for the PGA Tour -- which would have been a nice fallback if things hadn’t gone according to plan this week in California. But thanks to his Q-School performance, English is skipping golf’s minor leagues and going straight to the majors.
“If you would have told me in the spring I’d be playing on the PGA Tour, much less the Nationwide Tour, I would have told you you were crazy,” English said on the Golf Channel. “It was an awesome position to be in coming in and knowing I can play the Nationwide if I had to next year.”
Todd held a PGA Tour card in 2009 and Kisner had one this year, but both players had to battle their way back onto the Tour through three separate Q-School stages that started in October.
English and Harman -- a former UGA all-American whose professional golf experience mostly consists of time on the eGolf Professional Tour -- will be PGA Tour rookies in 2012 after advancing through all of the qualification rounds.
Two more former Bulldogs were in the running for a Tour card Monday and barely fell short.
Hudson Swafford -- another 2011 all-American -- started the day inside the cut line in a tie for 24th, but finished with a 1-over 73 in the final round to fall into a tie for 38th at 6 under, missing a card by three strokes.
Georgia grad Scott Parel, 46 -- a mini-tour veteran from Augusta who never played on the golf team at Georgia -- dropped from a tie for 13th to 30th Monday by shooting a 2-over 74. He finished at 7 under, two strokes from a card.