Brickyard Collegiate enjoys elite field

September 30, 2013 

If the previous six Brickyard Collegiate tournaments are any indication, you most likely will see a future PGA Tour winner in action at this year’s event, which runs Friday-Sunday at the picturesque Brickyard at Riverside.

Four alumni of that tournament have made it to the PGA winners’ circle already, and several others have made impressive showings in the professional ranks, as well. Macon’s Russell Henley, who was a two-time individual champion at the Brickyard Collegiate, won the Sony Open in Hawaii in his PGA Tour debut, beating runner-up Tim Clark by three shots. Henley has had a solid rookie season, pocketing more than $2 million in earnings. In addition to his Sony win, he has had three top-10 finishes. Prior to joining the PGA Tour ranks, he recorded three wins on the Web.com Tour, one of those while he was still an amateur.

Harris English, a teammate of Henley’s at Georgia, won the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis in June. For the year, he has had four top-10 finishes and has earnings of more than $3.4 million in two years on the tour. He also had one win on the Web.com Tour.

Patrick Reed, who started out Georgia before transferring to Augusta State (now called GRU Augusta), where he led the Jaguars to back-to-back national championships, won for the first time at the Wyndham Classic in Greensboro, N.C., in August. He has won more than $2.3 million and has five top-10 finishes to his credit.

Clemson product Kyle Stanley has earnings of $5.5 million in his three years on the professional links. He won the Phoenix Open in 2012 and, in addition, has nine top-10 finishes, including two second-place finishes and two third-place finishes.

There are several other golfers who played in the Brickyard who have enjoyed success as a professional. Brooks Koepka, who starred at Florida State, has not yet won in the United States but does have three wins in Europe. Cameron Tringale, a Georgia Tech standout, has had his PGA Tour card for three years and has posted nine top-10 finishes and taken home almost $4 million.

Brian Harman, another former UGA golfer, has earnings of more than $2 million in his two years on the PGA Tour. He started his professional career playing on the eGolf Tour, winning once on that circuit while having 11 top 10 finishes in 14 events. Henrik Norlander, another Augusta State product, is playing on the PGA Tour and has earned better than $400,000 this years with three top-10 finishes. Paul Haley, who played at Georgia Tech, also has his PGA Tour card, but he has not done well this season, showing just $73,000 in earnings to date this year.

Several others who have played in the Brickyard competed on the Web.com Tour and have secured their PGA Tour cards for 2014. Former Georgia Tech standout Chesson Hadley won twice, including the Web.com championship. Also moving up are Ben Martin, a former Clemson player who finished 10th in money winnings on that circuit, and former Georgia star Hudson Swafford, who finished in the top 50 to earn himself a spot on the big tour.

Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer’s grandson who played in the Brickyard while at Clemson, also is on the Web.com Tour but did not have the kind of year that will give him a spot on the PGA Tour in 2014.

Steven Fox, who won the 2012 U.S. Amateur, was a member of the Chattanooga team when it played in the Brickyard. He has not yet turned professional.

This year’s Brickyard field includes Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida State, GRU Augusta, Chattanooga, Furman, Air Force, Boston College, Georgia State, Gonzaga, Louisville, Princeton, South Florida, Virginia Tech and host Mercer.

Contact Bobby Pope, who hosts the Saturday Scoreboard at 4 p.m. on Fox Sports 1670, at bobbypope428@gmail.com

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