BROUSSARD — Winning early in the season on the Web.com Tour provides more than a confidence boost.
It can pave the way toward earning one of those precious PGA Tour cards, which will go to the top 25 regular-season money winners and the top 25 finishers in the four-tournament finals series on the Web.com Tour.
In many cases, winning is a way to keep playing. It was for Peter Malnati. In fact, winning is the only reason he’s playing this week in the $550,000 Chitimacha Louisiana Open, which begins championship play Thursday at Le Triomphe Golf & Country Club.
“This tour has become so competitive, I wouldn’t be in the field this week if I hadn’t already won this year,” said Malnati, who won the Brasil Champions in Sao Paulo two weeks ago for his second career Tour win. “I’m coming off a year where I was a rookie on the PGA Tour, and I had enough status that I was able to get in the first five events. I thought for sure if I went down and played well in South America that I’d be set for the rest of the year.”
Malnati, a former Missouri standout who had three top-25 finishes on the PGA Tour last season, doesn’t have to worry about playing the rest of the Web.com Tour season after shooting 66-62-68-66 and winning by four strokes in Brazil. He’s second on the early-season money list ($156,891) and is happy he isn’t far from locking up a PGA Tour card again for next year.
“There are several guys that were in the same category as me that played well in South America and aren’t in this event, because the field is so competitive out here,” he said. “Because of the win, I’m at the top of the pecking order, and that helps me in making a schedule. I don’t have to stress to get into tournaments all year.”
By the numbers
In 2014, it took $184,460 to finish in the top 25 on the regular-season Web.com Tour money list, and secure a spot on the “big” tour for this season.
Andrew Landry knows that number. The Nederland, Texas, product and Arkansas graduate did his research after finishing as runner-up at last fall’s Web.com Qualifying Tournament and earning a spot on Tour as a rookie this season.
“My goal was to get to 180 ($180,000) before I took a week off,” he said. “I’ve got a little more to take care of, hopefully this week.”
Landry took a big step toward that goal three weeks ago when he won the Cartegena de Indias Championship in Colombia, cashing a $126,000 check in only his sixth start on tour.
“One of my goals was to win one of the first five events,” he said. “I wanted to get off to a really good start. I made the cut in Panama (the season-opening Panama Claro Championship) but had a bad weekend, and it went south from there.”
That all changed in Cartegena, where he won by five strokes and became one of two rookie winners on tour this year.
“That was a ball striker’s course, and I hit the ball really well all week,” he said. “I putted outstanding, short game was unbelievable. It was one of those weeks where it all came together.
“This is my first full season, so the more experience that I can get, the more it’s going to help me for next year. They call this the ‘Path to the PGA Tour’ for a reason. When you’re playing out here with guys that have played the PGA Tour for a while, guys that you’ve been watching on TV, it gives you chills. It’s pretty cool.”
Tour rookie Drew Scott and amateur partners Danny Duplantis, Chris Fontenot, Mark Tammerillo and Ryan Gonsilin combined for a 24-under-par 47 Wednesday morning to take top honors in the Advance Fire & Safety Pro-Am. They finished three strokes ahead of the team of current tour pro and former LSU standout Curtis Thompson and amateur partners Ben Berthelot, Rob Guidry, Ken Rabalais and Mike Norvell, who posted a 21-under 50.
It was the second Louisiana Open success for Duplantis in a span of four days. Duplantis took top honors in Sunday’s finals of the Cypress Bayou Casino & Hotel $1 Million Hole-in-One, with the closest shot of the day landing 17 feet, one inch from the pin on Le Triomphe’s 8th hole.
Scores were even lower in the afternoon Louisiana Blasting & Coating Pro-Am, with the team of pro Kelvin Day and amateurs Ronnie Ratcliff, Terry Guidry, Ron Landry and Tahanie Thibodeaux posting a 28-under-par 43 to take top honors. They were three ahead of the team of two-time Open champion Brett Wetterich and amateur partners Bo Ramsay, Sam McCallister, Butch Bazer and Clyde Munson, who posted a 46.
And an ace
The pro-am action also included a hole-in-one on Wednesday, with Denny Guilbeau acing the 130-yard 11th hole with a pitching wedge for the Coca-Cola team and pro Andrew Landry. Guilbeau’s shot bounced twice before rolling in, but it was blind from the tee and the only person to see the ball go in was Landry’s caddie.