Last weekend was quite positive for the growing family of Virginia golf alumni. On Sunday, 2002 graduate Steve Marino finished T-11 in the PGA Tour's Greenbrier Classic. At the same time, 2010 graduate Kyle Stough finished T-16 on the Web.com Tour's Nova Scotia Open. These were the best performances of the season for Marino and Stough, respectively, and they couldn't have come at a better time.
Marino's performance was the most dramatic. Playing on the last start of his Major Medical Exemption, Marino needed approximately $310K to earn back his full PGA tour card or $137,626 to earn conditional tour status for the rest of the season. His T-11 finish netted him...$137,800...saving the rest of his season by less than $200. Marino now has approximately 4 events to earn enough Fed Ex Cup points to earn his card for 2015. He'll need a good bit more of the magic that he showed at the Greenbrier in order to do that.
Stough, meanwhile, is fighting to get into the top-75 of the Web.com Tour money list. Doing so would allow him to compete for a PGA Tour card in the Web.com Tour Finals. Stough's finish at Nova Scotia moved him up from 154th to 131st, keeping his hopes alive. More encouraging, it also marked the high point of his professional career so far.
Marino and Stough are joined in the major professional ranks by James Driscoll ('01) and Ben Kohles ('12). Driscoll started the year off hot, but he's missed cuts in 8 of his last 10 PGA events. He's currently 142nd in the Fed Ex Cup standings, and he'd benefit from a few more strong finishes to ensure his spot in the Fed Ex playoffs. Kohles, meanwhile, has missed 9 of 12 cuts this year on the Web.com tour. He'll need to turn in a heroic performance soon in order to compete in the Web.com Finals.
All four Hoos wlil be on display this weekend. Marino and Driscoll will be in Illinois for the John Deere Classic. Many top PGA Tour players wlil sit out the event to rest before the British Open. Marino and Driscoll would do well to make the most of the opportunity. Kohles and Stough, meanwhile, will be at the Utah Championship on the Web.com Tour. They'll be joined by Amory Davis, a 2011 Virginia grad who made the field as a Monday qualifier.
Virginia may not have the golf tradition of some of its ACC counterparts, but fans should keep a lookout for more Wahoos to make the professional ranks as the program continues to improve.