Ekey completes Pro-Am field

QUINCY — Kathleen Ekey is getting back into the competitive swing.

The LPGA Tour golfer has played in only one sanctioned event since 2016, but her absence is for two very good reasons.

They are named Luke and Taylor.

Since the end of the 2016 Symetra Tour season, Ekey got married to Luke Lang, the brother and caddie of former U.S. Women’s Open champion Brittany Lang, and gave birth to the couple’s first child, Taylor.

Now she can get back to playing more often and more consistently.

Ekey will be in the field for the third annual WGEM/Herald-Whig TriState Pro-Am, which takes place May 28 at Westview Golf Course.

The event will feature 15 professional golfers, including Quincy native Luke Guthrie, paired with amateur teams for an 18-hole shamble event.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the Quincy Medical Group Foundation with an emphasis on cancer research and the Junior Rangers Golf Academy. Admission is free, and play begins at 8:30 a.m. with a four-hole shootout. The shamble event begins at 9:45 a.m.

Ekey, a graduate of the University of Alabama, turned pro in 2009 and won the Futures Tour money title in 2011 to earn her LPGA Tour card. Ekey had seven top-10 finishes in 2011 and won the Ladies Titan Tire Challenge and the Alliance Bank Golf Classic.

After playing on the LPGA Tour for two seasons, Ekey played on the Symetra Tour in 2015 and 2016, finishing as high as 52nd on the money list. Her best finish on the Symetra Tour is a tie for fourth at the PHC Classic in 2016.

Talley earns U.S. Women’s Open spot

Emma Talley watches her tee shot on the second hole during the second round of the U.S. Women’s Open in 2014 when she competed as an amateur. | AP Photo

QUINCY — Emma Talley has had a change of plans for good reason.

The LPGA Tour rookie had committed to play in the third annual WGEM/Herald-Whig TriState Pro-Am, which will be held May 28 at Westview Golf Course, but she won a three-way playoff for one spot in the U.S. Women’s Open and has had to rescind her commitment.

A former NCAA champion and U.S. Women’s Amateur medalist, Talley participated in the 2017 pro-am while competing on the Symetra Tour. She finished in the top 10 on the Symetra money list at the end of last season, earning her LPGA Tour card.

Last Monday, playing in a sectional qualifier at Dunwoody (Ga.) Country Club, Talley survived the playoff for the final qualifying spot. So the 24-year-old Talley gets to play in the U.S. Women’s Open on her home course — Shoal Creek, which is located outside Birmingham, Ala.

“I love Shoal Creek,” Talley told the Golf Channel. “I have never been so nervous in my life as I was over that last putt, because I’ve never wanted to play in a tournament as badly as I wanted to play in this U.S. Women’s Open. Shoal Creek is so beautiful and such a special place.”

Volunteers needed for Pro-Am

Interested in taking part in the third annual WGEM/Herald-Whig TriState Pro-Am but not necessarily as a golfer? Here is an opportunity to lend your time and talents to the event and get the chance to interact with the 15 professional golfers who have committed to the event.

The Pro-Am committee is looking for volunteers to help in a variety of ways, from shuttling golfers to and from Quincy to assisting at the door during the concert taking place May 27 at the Oakley-Lindsay Center to serving as a marshall for each group of golfers.

If you’re intrigued, check out the link below to see what areas volunteers are needed and to use the online sign-up sheet.

Go here to check everything out.

Pairings party on tap

The pairings for the third annual WGEM/Herald-Whig TriState Pro-Am will be determined at a pairings party to be held at 6 p.m. May 22 at the Tower Pizza and Mexican. All sponsors and golfers who plan to participate in the Pro-Am are invited.

Teams will select which professional golfer they will be paired with for the May 28 event, which will take place at Westview Golf Course.

Talley, Lingmerth join field

QUINCY — When Emma Talley came to the WGEM/Herald-Whig TriState Pro-Am a year ago, she was hoping for an opportunity to play on the LPGA Tour.

As she plans her return trip to the third annual event at the end of this month, she’s showing she deserved it.

Talley has two top-10 finishes in her rookie season on the LPGA Tour and is coming off a tie for 31st in the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship as she headlines the final group of commitments announced by the Pro-Am board of directors.

Talley, PGA Tour member David Lingmerth and former Champions Tour golfer Jay Delsing complete the field for the pro-am, which takes place May 28 at Westview Golf Course.

David Lingmerth chips to the first green during the final round of the Memorial in 2017. | AP Photo

Talley won an NCAA championship at Alabama and was the 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion before turning pro in 2017. She finished ninth last year on the Symetra Tour money list, earning her LPGA Tour card for 2018. The top 10 money winners on the Symetra Tour get the bump to the LPGA Tour.

She’s taking full advantage of the promotion.

Talley tied for seventh in her second event on the LPGA Tour, shooting three rounds in the 60s and posting a 6-under 282 at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. Her top finish came in April at the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open as she tied for fifth at 6-under 278.

She has missed only two cuts this season and is ranked 38th on the LPGA money list.

Lingmerth is returning to the pro-am for a third straight year and is enjoying a steady season on the PGA Tour.

He ranks 93rd in the FedEx Cup standings, having made nine cuts in 12 events. His lone top-25 finish came at the RSM Classic back in November when he tied for 17th at 11-under 271.

Lingmerth, a native of Sweden and a University of Arkansas graduate, turned professional in 2010 and graduated from the Web.com Tour to the PGA Tour in 2013. He finished tied for second at the Humana Challenge, losing in a three-way playoff. However, he enjoyed only moderate success thereafter and slipped back to the Web.com Tour in 2014. An eighth-place finish at the Web.com finals got him back on the PGA Tour, and he enjoyed a breakthrough in 2015.

Lingmerth won his only PGA Tour title to date in 2015, capturing the title at the Memorial. He lost in a playoff to Jason Dufner at the CareerBuilder Challenge in 2016, but the finish moved him into the top 50 in the world ranking. He represented Sweden at the Rio Olympics.

Delsing, who lives in St. Louis, is making a return appearance to the pro-am.

Delsing turned pro in 1984 after graduating from UCLA where he was college teammates with Corey Pavin, Steve Pate, Tom Pernice Jr. and Duffy Waldorf. He played on both the Nationwide and PGA Tours, winning twice on the Nationwide Tour and finishing as high as second twice on the PGA Tour — at the 1993 New England Classic and the 1995 FedEx St. Jude Classic.

He has not played in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event since 2015.

Delsing has a solid connection to Quincy, having had both Mike and Chris O’Connell — Quincy natives and Quincy High School graduates — caddy for him. Delsing also played in a U.S. Senior Open qualifier at Quincy Country Club in 2013 and in the Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships as a kid.

PGA Tour winner Garnett joins Pro-Am field

Brice Garnett won the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in March for his first PGA Tour title. | Photo courtesy PGA Tour

QUINCY — The field for the third annual WGEM/Herald-Whig TriState Pro-Am is taking shape, and a PGA Tour member who is quietly putting together a spectacular season is one of the latest golfers to commit to play.

Brice Garnett, who teamed with Chesson Hadley to finish tied for fourth Sunday in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and now ranks 39th in the FedEx Cup standings, will be making his inaugural appearance in the pro-am when it takes place May 28 at Westview Golf Course.

PGA Tour golfer Tom Lovelady and former PGA and Champions Tour golfer Trevor Dodds also have committed to the event, meaning the pro-am board of directors has announced 12 golfers who will be participating. The remainder of the field is expected to be released next week.

Garnett is from Gallatin, Mo., and graduated from Missouri Western State before turning pro in 2006.

Tom Lovelady hits on the 13th hole of the South Course at Torrey Pines Golf Course during the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. | AP Photo

He shot a 9-under 63 in the opening round at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in March. He posted two more rounds in the 60s and was under par in all four rounds, posting a winning score of 18-under 283 for his first career PGA Tour victory.

He followed it up with cuts made at the RBC Heritage and the Valero Texas Open before going really low over the weekend in New Orleans.

Garnett and Hadley opened with an 8-under 63, slipped back with a 1-over 73 and then roared back into contention with an 11-under 61 in the better ball competition. They shot a 1-under 71 Sunday to finish tied for fourth.

It was the sixth top-10 finish of Garnett’s career, which was reinvigorated last year on the Web.com Tour.

Garnett earned his first PGA Tour card in 2014 and finished in the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings. He slipped out of the top 125 the next season and was back on the Web.com Tour full-time in 2017.

He wasn’t there long. Garnett won two events and enjoyed five top-five finishes on the Web.com Tour last season, winning the regular-season money title and regaining his PGA Tour card.

Lovelady, who participated in the pro-am last season when he was on the Web.com Tour, is trying to crack the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings, currently sitting at 132nd.

The University of Alabama graduate who turned pro in 2016 has played in 16 events this season with one top-10 finish and three top-25 finishes. Lovelady tied for fifth at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship with an 11-under 277. He’s made the cut in one of the two events he has played since.

Lovelady finished the 2017 regular season 29th on the Web.com Tour money list, but he finished tied for third at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, which secured a top-25 finish in the Web.com Tour Finals and a PGA Tour card.

Lovelady made 15 cuts on the Web.com Tour with five top-10 finishes and eight top-25 finishes.

Dodds is a native of South Africa but now calls St. Louis home. He turned pro in 1985 and earned one victory on the PGA Tour, claiming the Great Greensboro Chrysler Classic in 1998 with a playoff victory over Scott Verplank. It is one of 14 professional victories in his career.

Dodds has played in two Champions Tour events this season, finishing tied for 67th at the Mitsubishi Electric Classic and 73rd at the Boca Raton Championship.

Blaum, Teater commit to play in Pro-Am

Ryan Blaum is currently 127th in the FedEx Cup standings. | Photo courtesy PGA Tour
Josh Teater is working his way back to the PGA Tour. | Photo courtesy PGA Tour

QUINCY — One of this season’s most consistent golfers on the Web.com Tour and one trying to develop consistency on the PGA Tour are the latest commitments to the third annual WGEM/Herald-Whig TriState Pro-Am.

Josh Teater and Ryan Blaum, who are previous pro-am participants, have joined the growing list of professional golfers who will tee it up May 28 at Westview Golf Course. Nine golfers have committed to play in the pro-am, with Quincy native Luke Guthrie the headliner.

Guthrie will try to match Teater’s consistency when the Web.com Tour tees it back up this week at the North Mississippi Classic after a three-week hiatus.

Teater has played in seven Web.com Tour events, making six cuts with four top-25 finishes. His best finish was tying for 11th at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open when he posted three rounds in the 60s and shot a 6-under 65 in the final round. He tied for 13th at the Panama Championship and tied for 15th at the Savannah Golf Championship.

He currently is 29th on the Web.com Tour money list. The top 25 at the end of the regular season earn their PGA Tour card for 2019.

Teater, a native of Kentucky who played at Morehead State University, spent five years on the PGA Tour, finishing in the top 80 in the FedEx Cup standings three times.

His first year as a full-time member of the PGA Tour was in 2010 when he was 76th in the FedEx Cup after tying for third at the Turning Stone Resort Championship. After finishing 102nd in the FedEx Cup in 2011, Teater rebounded to finish 73rd with four top-10 finishes in 2012.

In 2013, he enjoyed a career-best finish at the Farmers Insurance Open, when he tied for second. He finished 78th in the FedEx Cup that season. He dropped to 148th in the FedEx Cup in 2014 and lost his PGA Tour card.

Teater finished 36th on the Web.com Tour money list in 2016, which included seven top-15 finishes and a tie for second at the Rust-Oleum Championship. In 2017, he ad two top-10 finishes on the Web.com Tour and was 40th on the money list.

Blaum has made the cut in five of 13 events he has played on the PGA Tour, but has finished higher than 60th only once in the his last seven events. Those came on the heels of tying for 10th at the Sony Open. Blaum finished tied for 16th at the Valspar Championship.

He is currently 127th in the FedEx Cup standings.

A native of Miami who graduated from Duke and turned pro in 2007, Blaum is in his second season as a full-time member of the PGA Tour. He finished 107th in the FedEx Cup in 2017 with two top-10 finishes. He tied for sixth at the Barbasol Championship and tied for seventh at the Greenbrier Classic.

Blaum played on several mini-tours before winning twice on PGA Tour Latinoamerica in 2013 to kickstart his career. He has 11 career professional victories, including three on the Hooters Tour and two on the eGolf Professional Tour.

Two Web.com Tour pros commit to play at Westview

Adam Long played high school golf in St. Louis and is a graduate of Duke University. (Photo courtesy PGA Tour)
Chris Baker has made five cuts on the Web.com Tour this season. (Photo courtesy PGA Tour)

QUINCY — Two golfers who participated in the WGEM/Herald-Whig TriState Pro-Am in 2017 are making a return trip for the third annual event.

Adam Long and Chris Baker, who are both currently playing on the Web.com Tour, have commited to play in the 2018 event, which takes place May 28 at Westview Golf Course. So far, the Pro-Am board of director has announced commitments from seven players.

Long is capitalizing on the cuts he’s made.

A graduate of Francis Howell High School in St. Louis and Duke University, Long has made just three cuts in seven events on the Web.com Tour this season, but he’s finished in the top 25 in each of those tournaments.

Long tied for sixth at the El Bosque Mexico Championship, tied for 10th at the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic and tied for 17th at the Panama Championship. He is 34th on the Web.com Tour money list.

This is Long’s fifth season on the Web.com Tour since turning pro in 2010. In 2017, he finished 44th on the money list with six top-25 finishes and a third-place finish at the LECOM Health Challenge. His best career finish is a second-place showing at the United Leasing Championship in 2015.

Baker, an Indiana native and graduate of Iowa State University, is in his fifth season on the Web.com Tour. He’s played in seven events, making five cuts, and is 91st on the tour’s money list.

His best finish this season is a tie for 27th at the Panama Championship in early February.

Baker, who turned pro in 2008, finished 34th on the Web.com Tour money list in 2017 as he had five top-25 finishes and a second-place finish at the Panama Championship. He had a top-three finish in 2015 when he tied for third at the Digital Ally Open.

He has three professional victories to his credit, winning on the Hooters Tour in 2009, the eGolf Professional Tour in 2010 and the Challenge Tour in 2010.

For more information about the pro-am and the golfers who will be participating, visit the event website at tristateproam.org.

Hueber is latest addition to Pro-Am field

QUINCY — Justin Hueber’s dream of playing on the PGA Tour is closer to becoming a reality thanks to a steady weekend in Savannah, Ga.

Hueber finished tied for third at the Web.com Tour’s Savannnah Championship, shooting four rounds in the 60s and jumping 28 spots on the tour’s money list to 49th. The top 25 on the money list at the end of the season receive their PGA Tour card for 2019.

With five events to be played between now and the third annual WGEM/Herald-Whig TriState Pro-Am, which takes place May 28 at Westview Golf Course,

Hueber has ample opportunities to improve his stock before coming here.
The University of Indianapolis graduate is the fifth professional golfer to commit to the event, joining Quincy native Luke Guthrie and PGA Tour pros Troy Merritt, Ben Crane and Joel Dahmen.

Getting to this point has been a grind for Hueber.

He turned pro in 2009 but didn’t qualify for any of the PGA Tour’s different levels until playing 17 events on PGA Tour Latinoamerica in 2015. He had three top-10 finishes, including winning the 57 Abierto Mexicano de Golf, and was 10th on the money list.

In 2016, he won the 69 Avianca Colombia Open, which was the season’s inaugural event, and transitioned to the Web.com Tour. He played in 15 events with one top-25 finish. His persistence paid off in 2017 with a more consistent effort on the Web.com Tour.

He enjoyed eight top-25 finishes in 18 events last year, finishing 56th on the money list and earning full status on the Web.com Tour this season. That has paid off with five made cuts in seven events and three top-25 finishes.

Crane, Dahmen commit to play in Pro-Am

QUINCY — A five-time winner on the PGA Tour and a WGEM/Herald-Whig TriState Pro-Am veteran are the latest professional golfers to commit to play in the third annual event.

Ben Crane and Joel Dahmen have agreed to join Quincy native Luke Guthrie and PGA Tour member Troy Merritt for the pro-am, which will be held May 28 at Westview Golf Course.

A Portland, Ore., native and University of Oregon graduate, Crane has conditional status on the PGA Tour this season after finishing 147th in the FedEx Cup standings in 2017. It’s allowed him to play in three events in 2018 with two made cuts.

His best finish has been a tie for 42nd at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

The 42-year-old Crane has more than $21 million in career winnings since turning pro in 1999 and joining the PGA Tour in 2002. He won his first PGA Tour event in 2003 when he finished four strokes ahead of Bob Tway at the BellSouth Classic. In 2005, he won the U.S. Bank Championship, and he captured the Farmers Insurance Open in 2010.

Crane beat U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson in a two-hole playoff to win the McGladrey Classic in 2011. His latest PGA Tour victory was in 2014 when he edged Merritt by a stroke at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Guthrie finished tied for 43rd at that event.

Crane owns three top-25 finishes in the majors, tying for ninth at the PGA Championship in 2011, tying for 11th at the British Open in 2006 and tying for 17th at the Masters in 2012.

Aside from his tour success, Crane has made headlines for teaming with fellow pros Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan to create the “Golf Boys,” a boy band spoof in which they released a video for “Oh, oh, oh” that became a YouTube sensation. Farmers Insurance agreed to donate $1,000 for every 100,000 views of the video.

The charitable proceeds support both Farmers and Ben Crane charitable initiatives. To date, the video has been viewed more than 8 million times.

Dahmen is returning to the Pro-Am for the third time. A native of Clarkston, Wash., and a graduate of the University of Washington, Dahmen has conditional status on the PGA Tour this season and has played in 11 events with six cuts made and one top-25 finish.

He is currently 155th in the FedEx Cup standings.

His best finish was a tie for 23rd at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in November. He tied for 33rd at the Honda Classic in February and has made the cut in three of six events in 2018.

Dahmen played on PGA Tour Canada from 2010 to 2014, graduating to the Web.com Tour when he won the Order of Merit in 2014. On the Web.com Tour in 2015, Dahmen made the cut in 12 of 25 events, including three top-10 finishes. He advanced to the Web.com Tour Finals but failed to earn a PGA Tour card. He made 13 cuts in 20 events in 2016, including tying for third twice. He earned his PGA Tour card for 2017 by finishing 25th on the money list by just $975.

In 2017, he finished 176th in the FedEx Cup standings, but he was 24th in the Web.com Tour finals to earn his PGA Tour card for 2018.