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‘Noles in the pros: FSU men’s golf 2017 season

How have the Seminole professional men’s golfers fared in 2017?

PGA: The Tour Championship - Third Round John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Unless you are one of the world’s best, golf can be a tough way to make a living. Unlike basketball, football, and baseball, there are no contracts where athletes get paid regardless of their performance. Unlike tennis, players don’t get paid for just showing up to tournaments. Each week they have to beat at least half the field to earn a paycheck. And if they don’t do that consistently enough throughout the year, they don’t get to be on tour anymore and have to start over.

Of course, Florida State has a couple of golfers who are among the world’s best. But there are a lot of other guys out there grinding as well. Here is how they have fared during 2017.

PGA Tour

Daniel Berger: Berger was one of three Seminoles to win on the PGA Tour during the 2016-17 season, which concluded Sunday with the Tour Champioship. In June Berger picked up his 2nd career win when he defended his title at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. He also had two 2nd place finishes on the year, including a memorable playoff loss to Jordan Spieth. His solid season earned him a spot on the President’s Cup team, representing the USA against an International team.

YTD earnings: $4,287,161

Jonas Blixt: Entering the season, Jonas Blixt was just trying to find the form to allow him to stay out on tour. He had finished 121st and 100th in the two previous seasons (the top 125 keep their tour status). He began the year by missing eight of fifteen cuts. Then, out of nowhere, he teamed up with Cameron Smith to win the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. The win makes him exempt on the PGA Tour through the end of the 2018-19 season. Outside of the win, his best finish was a tie for 18th.

YTD earnings: $1,408,288

Brooks Koepka: Koepka earned the last of three FSU wins on Tour, but it was no doubt the biggest. He became the fourth Seminole to win one of golf’s major championships when he won the the US Open in record fashion. Like Berger, he also notched two 2nd place finishes, and qualified for the President’s Cup team, which begins play this week.

YTD earnings: $5,612,397

George McNeill: The two-time Tour winner is in an awkward position faced by many golfers. He’s not competitive on the PGA Tour, and at age 41 he’s far too young to begin thinking about the PGA Tour Champions (age 50). He can still play a tournament here and there using sponsor exemptions or his past status as a Tour winner, but that meant only seven tournaments this year, and he made two cuts.

YTD earnings: $9,984

Chase Seiffert: Without status on any tour, Seiffert spent his year trying to earn a living by arguably the most difficult way in sports: Monday Qualifying. For tournaments that are not majors and/or invitationals, most have a monday tournament where a small handful of guys can earn a spot into the tourney. The competition is ridiculous, but Seiffert still managed to qualify for three tournaments, which matched the most successful Monday Qualifiers for any player. He made the most of those three tournaments by making all three cuts.

YTD earnings: $38,047

PGA Tour Champions

Jeff Sluman: Sluman hasn’t won on the PGA Tour Champions since 2014, but he’s still competitive as evidenced by his 12 top-25 finishes this year.

YTD earnings: $553,995 Tour

Jack Maguire: Carrying heavy expectations as the next Seminole golfer to make a splash on the PGA Tour, Maguire struggled through his second year on the tour. He had just one top 10 finish, and that came in his 2nd event of the year. For the season, he finished 93rd, which barely allowed him to keep his Tour status for next year. He did, however, have a major highlight when he qualified for the US Open and had a solid T42 finish, which accounted for nearly half his golf income for the year.

YTD earnings: $94,286

PGA Tour Canada/PGA Tour Latinoamerica

Hank Lebioda: The fourth Seminole to pick up a professional win this year, when he won the Mackenzie Investments Open on the Mackenzie Tour (PGA Tour Canada). He finished 11th on the tour, which advances him to the semi-final round of the this winter’s Tour qualifying tournament. However, he’s currently 7th on the PGA Latinoamerica Tour, where the top five automatically advance to the Tour. There are six events left on the schedule.

YTD earnings: $90,750

Doug Letson: Letson played wherever he could this year, including four events on the Tour, four events on PGA Tour Canada, and one event on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica. Unfortunately, he only made two cuts.

YTD earnings: $1,287

Christobal del Solar: The newest Seminole pro, Solar qualified for the PGA Tour Canada at the annual qualifying tournament, but unfortunately he was the final qualifier. Tours are based on status, and he had the lowest on tour, which meant that he couldn’t even play in most of the tournaments. So for the early part of the season, he spent each week trying to Monday Qualify. Then, when both the Mackenzie Tour and PGA Tour Latinoamerica had overlapping schedules, the fields were small enough that he was able to play. All told, he played six events and made every cut. But, he finished 62nd on the PGA Tour Canada, and the top 60 advance to next year. So he’s back to square one.

YTD earnings: $9,566