Two rookies with Georgia ties will make their debut on the PGA Tour this week at the Sony Open in Hawaii, the first full-field event of the season.
Blake Adams, an Eatonton native and graduate of Georgia Southern, and Cameron Tringale, a Georgia Tech graduate, are in the field for this week's tournament in Honolulu.
Adams earned his PGA Tour card by finishing third on the Nationwide Tour’s money list. Tringale survived his initial Q-School experience. This will be the first PGA Tour event for Adams, the second for Tringale, who competed in the 2009 U.S. Open.
They are among 20 players who qualify as rookies on the PGA Tour. Five men -- Adams, Troy Merritt, Garth Mulroy, Brian Stuard and Jerod Turner – have never played in a PGA Tour event. All five are in the Sony field.
The Tour's rookie class also includes Jeev Milkha Sing, who has played in 37 PGA Tour events, and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, who was second on the European Tour's Order of Merit in 2009. They qualify as rookies because they finished in the top 125 of the PGA Tour money list as non-members.
“I’m very excited. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and last year I was able to stay healthy long enough to do it,” Adams said. “I tried to qualify for the BellSouth Classic three times and missed by a shot twice. It just never happened.”
Adams has battled a back injury and a hip injury that kept him sidelined for nearly three months in 2008. Healthy again in 2009, Adams was able to play a full schedule and had eight top-10s and was runner-up in two events.
Tringale, who went to the same California high school as 1998 Masters champion Mark O'Meara, played in every tournament in his four seasons at Tech. He was named All-ACC four times, All-America three times and was a member of the 2009 Walker Cup team. Tringale finished with the second-best career-stroke average in school history.
Tringale will be one of six Tech players who are fully exempt this season. The others are Stewart Cink, Matt Kuchar, Troy Matteson, Bryce Molder and Nicholas Thompson. David Duval and Matt Weibring are partially exempt.
Duval missed the top 125 and failed to regain his privileges at Q-School, but his runner-up performance at last year’s U.S. Open qualifies him for the first three majors, and Duval shouldn’t have a problem obtaining sponsors exemptions.
More PGA Tour
*Kuchar got off to a great start by closing with a 67 at the par-73 Plantation Course to finish third at the SBS Championship. Kuchar said he was disappointed about not making a birdie on the final stretch of holes. “It was a bummer that I had a chance. There were a couple of opportunities,” he said. “Still, 6 under is a good round.”
*Keep an eye on Charles Howell III at this week's Sony Open. The Augusta native never has won the event, but he was runner-up in 2007, third in 2005 and fourth in 2002 and 2009. Howell is looking for his first victory since 2007.
About the Author