Kentuckian Josh Teater finished second in the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic in Hayward, Calif., on Sunday, carding five birdies on his way to a 3-under 67 in the final round to put him at 19-under for the tournament, three shots clear of the third-place finisher.
Though Teater fell four strokes short of tournament champion Trevor Cone, he earned something far more coveted than an individual Web.com title: A PGA Tour card for the 2018-19 season.
The top-25 finishers on the Web.com Tour money list at the end of the regular season earn PGA Tour cards for the following year. The $64,800 Teater won on Sunday put him comfortably inside that group with one tournament to go, next week’s Portland Open. Teater’s Sunday earnings moved him from 38th to 13th on the money list.
“I’ve kind of been working at it for three years,” Teater said of his quest to regain PGA status. “I’ve been close, so it’s good to be there.
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“I honestly feel like I’ve played good enough that if I was on the tour the last two or three years I would have kept my card. But getting there has kind of been the hardest part.”
Teater has earned more than $1 million on the PGA Tour. But the Henry Clay and Morehead State graduate has spent the past three years as a Web.com regular after losing his full-time PGA status.
Teater made a risky decision last month, opting to accept a sponsor’s exemption to compete in the PGA Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville rather than play in the Web.com event that took place the same week. Teater was 31st on the money list at the time and the decision to play in his home state’s first regular-season PGA event in nearly 60 years rather than continue stacking Web.com money jeopardized his shot at reclaiming a spot on the PGA Tour.
But Teater told reporters at the Barbasol Championship he never considered skipping the event, and Sunday’s result ensures he won’t need a sponsor’s exemption to qualify for next year’s Barbasol field.
“I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing and try to find myself in these positions more often out there (on the PGA Tour).”