Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nagy one big step away from PGA Tour

To have any chance of earning a PGA Tour card for 2012, Corey Nagy understood Friday what he needed to do.

Nagy, the former Charlotte 49ers star, needed to save par on the last hole of his second-stage qualifying tournament in Brooksville, Fla., from a spot where he seemed certain to make a bogey. Nagy was riding the cut line and he wasn't positive a par save would get him to the qualifying school finals in California later this month but he knew a bogey would assure him of playing more mini-tour golf in 2012.

From the thickest rough on the course and to a hole cut in a diffcult spot, Nagy saved par by nearly holing his chip shot, allowing him to slide into a tie for 18th (only the top 21 and ties advanced) and into a new chapter in his career.

If Nagy plays well enough in the six-round qualifying school finals at PGA West in Palm Springs, Cal., he'll earn his PGA Tour privileges for next year. The worst case scenario is Nagy will have at least conditional status on the Nationwide Tour.

"It's pretty awesome," said Nagy, who moved from a tie for 31st to 18th on the last day of the second-stage qualifier at Southern Hills Plantation Club. "I wasn't sure at that moment if it would be enough but I knew I'd done what I could do.

"You know when you start that if you don't play well, you basically don't have a job next year so I definitely felt the pressure."

In preparation for the second stage, Nagy played a practice round at Quail Hollow Club with Webb Simpson and Johnson Wagner, both winners on the PGA Tour this year.

"They encouraged me," Nagy said. "They told me I was good enough and told me to stay patient."

Charlotte's Fernando Mecheffe also advanced to the final stage of qualifying school though Brian Bigley, who played in the Wells Fargo Championship in May, missed advancing by one stroke as did former North Carolina golf coach John Inman.