With only two events left for players to move up the money list and secure their PGA Tour cards for next year, two Connecticut-tied pros are safe and two are in need of some magic if they want to crack the top 125.
University of Hartford alumnus Jerry Kelly currently sits 61st on the money list, having accumulated just less than $1.4 million this year, which will be enough to keep him fully on Tour next year. In 24 starts, he has made 15 cuts and racked up four top-ten finishes, including a solo third place finish at the Honda Classic back in March. His next highest finish, a tie for fourth place, came at the Wyndham Championship, showing that Kelly has been able to find form sporadically throughout the year. Statswise, Kelly's Achilles heel is Driving Distance, where he ranks 181st on Tour. But, he makes up for his lack of power with accuracy by hitting 73% of his fairways, third-best on Tour. If he can help out his middling putting stats, he should be able to find more consistency next year.
In 26 starts this year, Fairfield, Connecticut native J.J. Henry has made 20 cuts but has racked up only $873,377, good enough for 97th place on the Tour money list. While he is safe from having to return to Q-school, he has some improving to do if he wants to regain the form that earned him a spot on the 2006 American Ryder Cup team. A decent ball striker and putter (16th in Total Driving, 13th in Greens in Regulation, 64th in Strokes Gained--Putting), Henry suffers most around the greens (162nd in Sand Save Percentage, 127th in Scrambling), so if he can improve his short game some, expect him to rise in the PGA Tour ranks again.
A University of Hartford teammate of Jerry Kelly's, Tim Petrovic has managed 15 made cuts in 27 appearances this year, but only three top-25 finishes, and needs some late magic to make the top 125 and ensure full PGA Tour status in 2012. He currently sits 145th on the money list, having made just under $430,000 this season. Like Kelly, he is fairly short off the tee (166th) but unlike his college teammate, Petrovic has not been terribly accurate with the driver (52nd, and 145 in Total Driving). His consistently mediocre finishes are the result of a Round 3 Scoring Average of 71.81, which is 168th-best on Tour. This means that when Petrovic has made the cut in tournaments, he has largely failed to capitalize by moving up the leaderboard on Saturdays. But Petrovic is in the field this week at the McGladrey Classic at Sea Island Resort, so he has an opportunity to salvage his season on a shorter golf course that should suit his game.
Trinity College alumnus Jay Williamson has had to split time between the PGA Tour and the Nationwide Tour this year, owing to limited staur on the former. As a result, he has competed in only six events, making only two cuts and $27,396, putting him at 235th on the money list. His Nationwide Tour performance has not been much better, as he has made only four cuts in 13 starts this year, accumulating just a little more than $10,000. Williamson will need to head back to Q-school to regain his status on the PGA Tour next year.
Hartford golf fans: join me in rooting on these four pros as the season winds down.