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Young Players Making Their Way to the PGA TOUR

The PGA TOUR’s qualifying structure literally spans the globe. Fifty TOUR cards are awarded via each year’s Tour—25 via the Regular Season; another 25 via the three-event Finals—while players vie for Tour membership across the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and PGA TOUR Series-China.

Each season, the Order of Merit winner on each of the three international Tours is awarded full Tour status for the following year. These players have the ability to plan a schedule, get fully comfortable and immediately turn an eye toward securing a TOUR card.

Finishers 2-5 on each international Tour’s Order of Merit are assured high-level conditional status for the following Tour season, with the opportunity to better their status via Final Stage of the Tour Qualifying Tournament, while finishers 6-10 on each Tour’s Order of Merit gain direct access to Final Stage, conditional membership and also the chance to improve their status.

Past Order of Merit winners like Mackenzie Hughes (2013 Mackenzie Tour), Joel Dahmen (2014 Mackenzie Tour), Ryan Blaum (2013 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica) and Haotong Li (2014 PGA TOUR Series-China) have since progressed to the PGA TOUR.

Several rising stars are poised to follow suit, integrating the skills learned while competing on the international Tours as they compete against established Tour veterans for spots in The 25—and subsequent TOUR cards for the 2019-20 season.

It won’t be easy. The final 17 events of the 2019 Tour Regular Season are played in consecutive weeks, spanning the United States from the Carolinas to the Pacific Northwest—followed immediately by the Tour Finals contested across three weeks in Ohio, Idaho and Indiana. Maintaining high levels of mental and physical energy will prove critical.

Who is up to the challenge?

Here’s a capsule look at five young players to watch on the 2019 Tour.

Harry Higgs

The Southern Methodist product earned fully exempt Tour status by virtue of topping the 2018 PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Order of Merit, on the strength of five top-three finishes in 17 starts, including a victory at the Diners Club Peru Open. The fun-loving New Jersey native began the 2019 Tour season with three top-25 finishes in seven starts, and he’ll have no shortage of confidence as he chases his first TOUR card.

Brett Coletta

After finishing No. 22 on last year’s Mackenzie Tour Order of Merit, the 22-year-old Australia native bravely navigated Q-School, finishing T25 at Final Stage to earn eight guaranteed starts. He has taken advantage, recording three top-12 finishes in his first six tournaments, including a third-place finish at the Savannah Golf Championship in late March to secure a full schedule for the 2019 season. Coletta ranks top-15 on the Tour in both Driving Distance and Greens in Regulation, a strong combination.

Charlie Saxon

With a second-place finish on the 2018 PGA TOUR Series-China Order of Merit, the Oklahoma alum became the all-time money leader in Series history and is ready to set his sights on the PGA TOUR. The affable 25-year-old ranks top-five on the Tour in Driving Distance and displays a well-rounded game and is not afraid to string together birdies and go low. Saxon made six of seven cuts to begin the 2019 Tour slate, a consistency that should serve him well as the summer progresses.

Max Greyserman

Upon graduating from Duke in spring 2017, the 23-year-old spent time on the Mackenzie Tour in both 2017 and 2018, before securing 2019 Tour starts via a T13 finish at Final Stage of Q-School last fall. The New Jersey native has quickly acclimated to the bigger stage, recording three top-20 finishes in a four-event span this spring, as he gears up to chase his first TOUR card during the summer stretch run. Greyserman ranks top-15 on Tour in putting average and birdie average.

Scottie Scheffler

After a standout career at the University of Texas, graduating in spring 2018, Scheffler secured guaranteed Tour starts via his first foray at Q-School last fall. The 22-year-old Dallas native has made the most of it, recording three top-seven finishes in his first seven starts, highlighted by a runner-up at the Savannah Golf Championship in late March. He followed that with a top-20 finish at the TOUR’s Valero Texas Open, showing that his game translates to any level.

This article first appeared in the PGA TOUR June-November 2019 issue, which can be read here.

See also: Young Golfers Making an Impact at the Tour Tour players make it to the PGA TOUR

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