Catching Up With Our Home Team Pros

Published on Thursday, July 13th, 2017 in News | Slider

Kyle Stanley

With Kyle Stanley’s win at the Quicken Loans National earlier this month, and Kirk Triplett’s runner-up finish at the U.S. Senior Open, we figured it was a good time to check in with our Home Team pros to see where everyone is at heading into the season’s closing stretch these next few months:

Kevin Chappell, Kirkland
Like Jordan Spieth, Chappell is a Home Teamer by association — his wife, Elizabeth, is a Kirkland native, and the two own a home here and frequently visit the region throughout the year. Chappell is even a member at Gamble Sands. He’s also off to a strong start in 2017, earning his first-career PGA TOUR win at the Valero Texas Open in April, and adding three other top-10 finishes en route to $2.1 million in earnings.

Fred Couples, Seattle
It seems like it would be cool to be Fred Couples. Just play when you feel like it, earn top-10 finishes, and take home $1 million bucks. Not too shabby. Couples has played just eight times so far on the PGA TOUR Champions Tour schedule, but seven top-10 finishes have earned him a cool $1.1 million and a No. 3 ranking in the Charles Schwab Cup. And, of course, there was his usual crashing of the party at The Masters, where he tied for 18th. His limited schedule has so far kept his back functional; fingers crossed that it’s still that way come the Boeing Classic next month.

Andres Gonzales, Lakewood
Lakewood resident Andres Gonzales has been one of the busiest players on Tour this year, playing 19 times on the PGA TOUR, seven times on the Canadian Tour and twice on the Tour. All put together, those 28 events have put about $290,000 in Gonzales’s pocket so far in 2017, including a top-25 finish at April’s Shell Houston Open, and multiple strong finishes on the smaller Tours. At 163 overall in the FedEx Cup standings, there’s still time for Gonzales to vault back into the top-125 before the end of the year; otherwise, he’ll likely be battling alums for Tour cards in the Tour Finals in September.

Jordan Spieth & Michael Greller
Spieth may not have Northwest roots, but his caddy, Michael Greller, most certainly does. Greller was a fifth-grade teacher in University Place, and a part-time caddy at Chambers Bay when he first met a teenage Spieth, who was in town competing in the U.S. Junior Amateur at Gold Mountain. The two hit it off, and in the years since, Greller has become one of the most recognizable caddies on Tour — and a millionaire, to boot. So far in 2017, Greller’s helped Spieth to two wins and seven top-10s, plus $4.9 million in prize money — which, given the usual 10-percent fee paid out to caddies, puts almost half a million in Greller’s pocket. Not bad for seven months walking golf courses.

Richard E. Lee, University of Washington
Honestly, I’m not sure what’s up with Richard Lee. After three years on the PGA TOUR, where he earned a total of $2 million and climbed as high as 75th in the FedEx Cup, Lee missed almost all of the 2015 season with an injury, then returned in 2016 to play 11 events on the PGA TOUR, making just one cut (a fourth-place finish at July’s Barbasol Championship, held opposite the British Open). So far this year, he’s played just once each on the and Canadian Tours … if you know what’s up with him, let us know.

Ryan Moore, Puyallup
On the heels of his best-career season, where he earned $3.7 million, finished 23rd in the FedEx Cup standings and drained the winning put in the 2016 Ryder Cup, Moore’s season so far hasn’t hit the same highs — though it’s hard to call $1.3 million for six months’ work much of a low, either. After tying for ninth at The Masters — equaling his best-ever finish in a major — Moore finished outside the top-50 at four of his next five events, before withdrawing from the U.S. Open with a shoulder injury (coincidentally, his place was taken by Tacoma native Michael Putnam). Moore returned for the John Deere after missing a month; he’ll hopefully be back to form soon.

C.T. Pan, University of Washington
One year after Taylor left Washington, Cheng-Tsung Pan arrived and become the “next big thing,” moving to No. 5 in the world golf rankings and qualifying for three U.S. Opens. After winning twice on the Canadian Tour in 2015, Pan placed 11th on the Tour in 2016 to earn his PGA TOUR card for this season, where he has ridden three top-10 finishes to a No. 83 FedEx Cup ranking and $1.1 million in earnings. It’s a solid start for the Tour rookie, and one that should keep him in position to retain his card for 2017-18, barring injury.

Alex Prugh, Spokane
Spokane native and UW grad Alex Prugh, meanwhile, isn’t quite as strong a lock to earn his card — though he’s currently in a good position. At 24th in the standings, thanks to four top-10s and six top-25s, Prugh simply needs to hold that spot to guarantee a return to the PGA TOUR for the first time since 2016. Fall out of the top-25, and Prugh will be joining the PGA TOUR’s 126-200th ranked players in the Tour Finals this fall, where an additional 25 cards will be awarded.

Michael Putnam, Lakewood
Fellow Lakewood resident Michael Putnam hasn’t had Tour priority this year, so he’s balanced a Tour schedule with PGA TOUR events as opportunities. Six PGA TOUR appearances — including the U.S. Open bid, when Moore withdrew — have netted four made cuts and just over $130,000 in earnings, including a tie for 35th at the U.S. Open. Interestingly, he’s actually been slightly less competitive on the Tour, making five cuts in eight events, to bank another $18K. At 199th in the FedEx Cup standings, Putnam will have to hang onto his place in the top-200 to make the Tour Finals; otherwise, it’s likely the Tour Qualifying Tournament for Putnam this fall.

Andrew Putnam, Lakewood
That doesn’t mean, of course, that there won’t be a Putnam on the PGA TOUR next year. Michael’s brother, Andrew Putnam, currently ranks second in the Tour standings, with a win under his belt at February’s Panama Claro Championship and seven top-11 finishes in just 12 events. After two years away from the PGA TOUR, Putnam is all but certain to be back in 2018, as the top-25 Tour finishers earn automatic cards the following year.

Kyle Stanley, Gig Harbor
Left for dead two years ago, when he only made the cut in eight events and spent most of the year playing on the Tour, Gig Harbor native Stanley has retooled his game and returned to his winning ways in 2017, taking the Quicken Loans National in July and posting five top-10 finishes in the season’s first seven months — more than he achieved in the last four years, combined. With $3 million in the bank in 2017 and a No. 14 FedEx Cup ranking, Stanley has already surpassed his previous career-best season of 2012, when he earned one win and pocketed $2.3 million in earnings.

Nick Taylor, University of Washington
Remember Nick Taylor? He’s back! (“In pog form.” Shout out to the tiny handful of you who get that joke.) Since leaving UW in 2010 as the Ben Hogan Award winner (college golf’s Heisman Trophy) and the world’s No. 1-ranked amateur, the B.C. native spent three years on the Canadian Tour before joining the in 2014, ultimately earning his PGA TOUR card for the 2014-15 season. Barely a month into his rookie season, he captured his first PGA TOUR win, and then … that was mostly it for the next two years, with just one more top-10 and only seven top-25s to his name. This year, though, Taylor’s been back on top of his game, with four top-10s and eight top-25s in just 24 events, good for $1.2 million and a No. 70 ranking in the FedEx Cup.

Kirk Triplett, Moses Lake
The fifty-five year-old Triplett came oh-so-close to his first senior major at the U.S. Senior Open this month, including an opening-round 62 and a one-stroke lead after 54 holes, before Kenny Perry nipped him at the line. That finish was one of five top-10s for Triplett so far this season, earning him nearly $800,000 and seventh place overall in the Charles Schwab Cup.

Chris Williams, University of Washington
The former world No. 1 amateur has never quite got it going as a pro, playing roughly 10 times per year on the Canadian Tour each year since 2014, with occasional dabbles on the and PGA TOURs. So far this year, he’s played in all four events up north, with two made cuts.

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