Zac Blair is not having the best summer among Utah Junior Golf Association alumni — if you count Rory McIlroy in that group, as I do.
Yet everything the former BYU golfer has done in the past six weeks on the Web.com Tour rivals McIlroy’s major achievements, in its own way.
Blair’s big summer
Zac Blair’s 2014 Web.com Tour results:
Tournament Finish Money
Nova Scotia Open T7 $18,915
Utah Championship T11 $13,750
Boise Open T25 $6,083
Midwest Classic T34 $3,064
Stonebrae Classic 62nd $1,536
Price Cutter Championship T2 $44,550
Blair already has created a solid professional golf opportunity for himself, and it may be get even better. By making money in all six tournaments — including a tie for second place Sunday in the Price Cutter Charity Championship in Springfield, Mo. — Blair has assured himself of Web.com Tour membership for the 2015 season.
More immediately, he’s eligible for the four-event Web.com Tour Finals that start Aug. 28, with 25 players earning PGA Tour cards.
That’s a remarkable development for a golfer who was merely trying to piece together a summer schedule.
So there’s no Ecuador in Blair’s future. If not for this summer’s success, Blair would have had to return to PGA Tour Latinoamerica when the split-season schedule resumes in September, hoping to finish in the top five on the money list and earn Web.com Tour access.
Based on his low finish in the qualifying tournament last December, Blair had little access to Web.com Tour events in 2014. But in early July, the remote nature of the Nova Scotia Open created an opening for him, and he took advantage with a tie for seventh place. He followed that with a tie for 11th in the Utah Championship at Willow Creek Country Club, suddenly moving ahead of many golfers who had played a full schedule.
That eventually helped him get more access, via a performance-based reordering of eligibility. So he has kept playing every week, and his latest effort was especially important. Blair barely missed a chance to compete in a five-way playoff in Missouri as Cameron Percy took a one-stroke victory Sunday. But Blair’s check for $44,550 moved him to 41st on the money list with $87,899, clinching a top-75 finish with two weeks left in the regular season.
West High School graduate Tony Finau and Orem native Scott Pinckney (whose family housed McIlroy in the summer of 2000, when the boys were 11) also will play in the Web.com Tour Finals. Finau already knows he’s headed to the PGA Tour in October, with his No. 6 ranking. But the top 25 players still have to play for position in that series. Pinckney (No. 53) and Blair will compete among 125 players for the other 25 cards that will be awarded.
The best part for Blair is he’s assured of nothing worse than Web.com Tour status for 2015, as a top-75 player.
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.