December 13, 2018

FJT Alums Making Leap to Next Level

Five Florida Junior Tour alums secured cards for the 2019 season, including Danny Walker, who earned medalist honors at Final Stage of the Tour Qualifying Tournament.

Danny Walker earned medalist honors at Final Stage of the Tour Qualifying Tournament.

TAMPA, Fla. - While two of the most notable Florida Junior Tour alumni of the past decade, Brooks Koepka and Lexi Thompson, added major victories to their resume in 2018, there were five others players that secured cards to 2019 in hopes to follow the footsteps on the PGA Tour.

Hank Lebioda - Florida State University - PGA Tour

Hank Lebioda, the 2010 and 2012 Florida Boys' Junior Champion, was a standout at Florida State and turned professional in 2016. He spent time on both the PGA Tour Latinoamerica and Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada in 2017, where he captured the Mackenzie Investments Open, that eventually led to earning his 2018 Tour Card. His rookie season on the Tour was up and down. The Winter Springs native made 18 of 26 cuts and had four top-10 finishes and seven top 25, including a runner-up finish at the Rex Hospital Open in June. It did not come easy, but Lebioda finished No. 25 on the Tour Money list, earning the last  available PGA Tour Card for 2019.

Chase Seiffert - Florida State University - Tour

2012 Florida Amateur, Open & Match Play Champion, Chase Seiffert had no status in 2018 after failing to advance out of Second Stage of Q-School. After Monday qualifying into the PGA Tour's Travelers Championship and finishing tied for ninth, he earned a spot into A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier the next week. The Panama City native earned enough FedEx Cup Points to finish inside the top 200 for the 2017-18 season and advance to the Tour Finals. A tied for eighth finish at the Tour Championship put him between 26-75 on the Finals Money List earning him 2019 Tour Membership.

Jimmy Stanger - University of Virginia - Tour

Jimmy Stanger opened the finals of Q-School with an 80 in 2017, but fought back with three consecutive rounds in the 60s only to miss out on any guaranteed status by one stroke. He made 10 cuts in 19 starts and posted 2 top-10 finishes on the season. However, the Tampa native  finished 78th on the money list, missing the Tour Finals and returning to Tour Q-School to fight for status. The 2010 Florida Boys' Junior Champion did not make the same mistakes in 2018, posting 25-under for four rounds and finishing tied for third. Stanger is guaranteed starts in the first 12 event of the 2019 Tour season.

Danny Walker - University of Virginia - Tour

FJT Alum, Danny Walker did not have a win during his college career at the University of Virginia, but proved to be a top 10 machine. After graduating in the spring, Walker competed on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada all summer. He made seven of 12 cuts and closed the season by capturing the Freedom 55 Financial Championship. At the Q-School Finals in December, Walker positioned himself inside the top 15 at 18-under ththrough 54 holes. He closed with a final-round 63, including a back-nine 30, to post a 27-under and earn medalist honors and full exempt status on the Tour for the entire 2019 season.

Andy Zhang - University of Florida - Tour

Andy Zhang will turn 21 this week, but has been a household name in the top ranks of Florida amateur golf for nearly a decade. Zhang captured the 2012 Florida Boys' Junior Championship, but the highlight of his summer came a month before that when he became the youngest US Open Competitor at the age of 14. During two seasons at University of Florida,  he was named to the All-Southeastern Conference Freshman Team in 2017, All-SEC First Team in 2018, Fred Haskins Award Finalist in 2018, and captured both the 2018 SEC Individual Championship and 2018 Kissimmee NCAA Regional Individual Championship. Zhang left Florida with the hopes of becoming a professional golfer. Those hopes became a reality last week when Zhang finished tied for eighth at Q-School Finals, earning 12 guaranteed starts and Tour membership for 2019.

Other Notables

2008 Junior Match Play Champion, Daniel Berger (Florida State University) will compete again on the PGA Tour in 2019. The two-time winner finished 70th in the FedEx Cup Standings in 2018, with his only top-10 finish of the year coming at the U.S. Open Championship in June.

2018 Web.Com Tour Member, Jack Maguire (Florida State University) finished tied for 34th at Web.Com Q-School, regaining his membership and guaranteeing him eight starts in the 2019 season. 

TJ Vogel (University of Florida) became a bit of a folk legend in 2018, Monday qualifying for seven PGA Tour Events while having no status on the Web.Com or PGA Tour. His tied for 16th finish at Q-School has guaranteed him eight Tour starts.

2011 Florida Amateur Champion and 2013 Florida Open Champion, Tyler McCumber led the 2018 Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada Order of Merit earning his 2019 Tour Card.

2012 Boys Junior & 2013 State Amateur Champion Sam Horsfield (University of Florida), Florida Junior Tour Alums Chase Koepka (University of South Florida) and Julian Suri (Duke) retained European Tour Membership for 2019.

2010 State Amateur Champion, Blayne Barber (Auburn University) was a PGA Tour member the past three seasons, but failed to retain his card. He will compete on the Tour in 2019 with conditional status.

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