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ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA. -- Carl Yuan said the formula for making it out of a PGA Tour Monday qualifier is pretty easy.
The execution is what's brutally hard.
"With 150 guys going for four spots, it's kind of a shootout," said the native of China and a Jacksonville resident since 2019, after a practice session on Tuesday at the Sea Island Club. "You better bring your best game and some luck."
Yuan, who was All-Pac 12 at the University of Washington player, did both on Monday at the Brunswick Country Club. He fired an 8-under-par 62 to tie Kyle Wilshire of Orlando for first place. More importantly, it got Yuan a spot in this week's RSM Classic, which begins on Thursday.
It's the second time in eight attempts at a Monday qualifier for Yuan, 24, who has full status on the Korn Ferry Tour after finishing 36th on the money list last season.
He also tied for 38th in the Olympic golf competition, representing China.
Yuan was 1-over through three holes at Brunswick but went birdie-birdie-eagle on his next three holes and shot 31-31.
"The putter was working pretty well," he said.
After he birdied four of six holes beginning at No. 9, the only issue was if they would finish. Darkness was closing fast and Yuan birdied No. 17 and parred No. 18 in the twilight.
"With three holes left, I didn't think we were going to finish," he said.
Yuan attended the Eagles Dream Academy and Lake Mary Prep in Orlando but said he moved to the First Coast to take advantage of the practice facility at the TPC Sawgrass.
And he's got game: Yuan tied for 17th in the 2019 WGC HSBC in Shanghai and won on the PGA Tour China series. He came agonizingly close to winning on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, tying for second three times.
Close, but no regrets
Webb Simpson is a U.S. Open and a Players champion and would love to add the RSM Classic trophy to his case back home in Charlotte, N.C.
But he's had one close call after another. Simpson has lost twice in playoffs, to Ben Crane in 2011 and Tyler Duncan in 2019 and finished third in 2018, one shot out of a playoff that involved Charles Howell III and Patrick Rodgers.
Simpson doesn't second-guess himself in any of those tournaments. His final-round scores those years were 66 (2011), 65 (2018) and 67 (2019). Crane birdied his last five holes in regulation to catch Simpson, then birdied the second playoff hole, and Duncan birdied Nos. 17 and 18 to tie Simpson.
"Both of my playoff losses, I felt really good about how I played Sunday," Simpson said on Tuesday during a news conference at the Sea Island Club. "Walking away losing a playoff always hurts but I didn't lose any sleep on Sunday night because I felt like I did my job."
Simpson is second all-time in scoring average at the RSM Classic with a 67.35, and has made eight of nine cuts.
Jaeger, Sigg honored
Stephen Jaeger was voted the Korn Ferry Tour player of the year by his fellow players, the PGA Tour announced on Tuesday.
Greyson Sigg, a St. Simons Island, Ga., resident, was voted rookie of the year.
The award means even more to Jaeger, because the Korn Ferry Tour was stretched out over 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic.
Jaeger won the 2020 Albertsons Boise Open presented by Chevron and the 2021 Emerald Coast Classic at Sandestin, marking the fifth and sixth Korn Ferry Tour victories of his career. The Munich, Germany native is one of six players in Korn Ferry Tour history with at least six wins, and he sits one behind Jason Gore’s all-time record of seven victories.
“It was a long season for us, almost two years, and to [win the Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year award] over a long period of time is nice, and today was a good surprise,” Jaeger said in a statement.
Although the 32-year-old sat out the final event of the 2020-21 season, Jaeger still won the season-long points standings by 362 points, which also earned him a start in The Players Championship in March 2022.
Jaeger had 13 top-10s to lead the Korn Ferry Tour.
Sigg won twice and had 10 top-10 finishes. He finished second to Jaeger in the points race.
The PGA Tour Champions has named former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the 2022 recipient of the Ambassador of Golf Award, presented by FirstEnergy Foundation. Rice will be recognized on July 7, 2022 at the 2022 Bridgestone Senior Players Championship at the Firestone Country Club.
The Ambassador of Golf Award honors a person who has fostered the ideals of the game on an international level and whose concerns for others extend beyond the golf course.
“Condoleezza Rice’s service to our country is well-documented, as is the leadership and character she has displayed throughout her decorated career,” said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. “Needless to say, we are fortunate and grateful to have someone of such standing show a continued passion for and dedication to growing the game we all love."
Rice currently is the Tad and Dianne Taube Director of the Hoover Institution and the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy. In addition, she is a founding partner of Rice, Hadley, Gates & Manuel LLC, an international strategic consulting firm.
She joined Darla Moore in becoming the two female members of the Augusta National Golf Club in 2012.
Rice was the Secretary of State from 2005-2009, after serving as the National Security Advisor for President George W. Bush.
It's a wrap in Dubai
The European PGA Tour will join the LPGA in determining its season-long champion this week at the DP World Tour Championship, at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai. The winner will get $3 million from a total purse of $9 million, with Golf Channel beginning live coverage in the week hours each morning -- 2 a.m. in the first three rounds and 1:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Because their record in majors and World Golf Championships count in the Race to Dubai, British Open champion Collin Morikawa and Dell Match Play champion Billy Horschel of Ponte Vedra Beach are in the top-two spots. No American has won either the Race to Dubai or the European PGA Tour Order of Merit.
Also in the field will be Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Patrick Reed and Sergio Garcia.
Event: RSM Classic, Thursday-Sunday, Sea Island Club Plantation and Seaside courses, St. Simons Island, Ga.
At stake: $7.2 million purse ($1,296,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner).
Defending champion: Robert Streb.
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Sunday, 1-4 p.m.).
Area players entered: Jonas Blixt, Jonathan Byrd, Harris English, Lanto Griffin, Brian Harman, Zach Johnson, Patton Kizzire, Russell Knox, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III, Tyler McCumber, Keith Mitchell, Trey Mullinax, J.T. Poston, Sam Ryder, Greyson Sigg, Cameron Smith, Hudson Swafford, Michael Thompson, Jared Wolfe.
Notable: Streb won the tournament for the second time in six years when he birdied the second playoff to hold off 2016 champion Kevin Kisner. ... Streb shot 63 in the second round. ... This the final Tour event of the calendar year. The players have six weeks off until the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii on Jan. 6-9. ... The field has 14 major champions, with Adam Scott playing for the first time. ... Also in the field are Louis Oosthuizen, Scottie Scheffler and Jason Day.
Event: CME Group Championship, Thursday-Sunday, Tiburon Golf Club, Naples.
At stake: $5 million purse ($1.5 million to the winner).
Defending champion: Jin Young Ko.
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Saturday, 4-7 p.m.); NBC (Sunday, 1-4 p.m.).
Area players entered: Chella Choi.
Notable: The top-60 on the Race to CME Globe points standings are eligible for the final tournament of the year. All of the players have an equal chance to win the Race to CME Globe championship. ... The LPGA player of the year award, based on points, is down to Nelly Korda vs. Ko. Korda won last week and has a 12-point lead. ... Ko shot 66 in the final round and beat Hannah Green and Sei Young Kim by five shots in only her fourth start of the season.
This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Carl Yuan fires a 62 at Brunswick Country Club to earn a spot in RSM Classic