Golf: Bartlett aims for another spot in Classic
Jonathan Bartlett went from being the first West Virginia Amateur champion to earn an exemption to the Greenbrier Classic to a traveling man.
The 36-year-old left behind his life as a real estate executive and hit the road with his wife Janell, and sons Mason, 6, and Preston, 4, logging close to 28,000 miles the past year while navigating the country in search of the ultimate prize - a PGA Tour card.
"It's been a blast," he said. "Janell is home-schooling the boys, we did a lot of research on that, and it's really been fun."
He arrived in Daniels earlier this week to join 110 other golfers at today's Greenbrier Classic Pre-Qualifier on the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs.
Just the 50 low scores and ties will advance to the Monday Open Qualifier, where only four golfers will earn a spot in the Classic July 4-7 at the Greenbrier's Old White TPC.
"That's kind of my major as far as tournaments go," said Bartlett, who won the 2010 State Amateur and made the cut at the inaugural Classic. "With the connection I have with the resort and the friends I have in the area."
Bartlett was a real estate executive with the Sporting Club when he pulled past three-time Amateur champion Tim Fisher to claim the coveted exemption three years ago.
He is one of two former Amateur champions to sign up for today's event. Former Capital High School and Marshall University golfer Christian Brand, who won the 2011 Amateur, will also seek a spot on Monday's qualifier.
Among the players participating today are Parkersburg's Alan Cooke, Pineville's Evan Muscari, Triadelphia Golf Club pro Ken Lacy, Marshall University's Davey Jude, Concord assistant golf coach Darcy Donaldson, former Fairmont State standout Justin Caroli, seven-time West Virginia Open champion David Bradshaw, Parkersburg's Kenneth Hess and five-time Open titlist Brad Westfall.
Donaldson shot a 67 to share medal honors with Virginia's Trent Sullivan in the 2011 pre-qualifier.
This year it gets a bit tougher with 111 players signed up and only 50 spots available. The pre-qualifier has grown considerably since the first year when only 37 players participated and 28 advanced.
In 2011, 47 of the 57 entrants moved to Monday and last year 52 of 78 participants earned spots.
That doesn't Bartlett, who boasts a solid short game and is well above average tee to green.
And, it has gotten better through Monday qualifiers this year for the Web.com and PGA tours. He also has played the South Carolina-based NGA Tour, making five cuts in eight events.
He got through the first stage of 2012 PGA Tour Qualifying School - getting through the second assures Web.com Tour status - but he "didn't hit the ball well and putted worse.
"When I didn't get through the second stage, it took me almost two months to shake it off," said Bartlett, a three-time All-State player in Ocala, Fla. "That shouldn't be the case. There are thousands of guys who haven't gotten past second stage. You have six days where you play solid golf after the second stage and you're on the PGA Tour."
Bartlett continues to chug along, giving the University of Mississippi alumnus and 2000 All-American a better appreciation for what the professionals endure daily.
With that appreciation comes confidence, and he's not concerned about making it through today - although 61 of the 111 golfers won't return on Monday.
At 36 years old, Bartlett has plenty of time to perfect his game and win a tournament that would give him status. The old 2013 PGA Tour rookie is 39-year-old David Lynn.
The rigors haven't caught up to him yet, although he understands.
"It's a different animal, there's no doubt about it," Bartlett said. "The golf ball doesn't know who you are and doesn't care. Golf is a great game, but when you decide to do it for a living, it'll beat you up."
Finally, Bartlett's goal is to make the Tour, but, at the very least, not regret if he didn't try.
He had two friends - high school classmate Josh Moody and college classmate Mitchell Crawford - who died in the last six years, influencing his decision to give it a shot.
"I didn't want to regret giving it a chance," he said. "When you see guys your age that young passing away, you don't want to regret anything. I want to give it one more chance."
The lowest 50 scores and ties from
today's pre-qualifier at The Resort at Glade Springs' Cobb Course
in Daniels will advance to Monday's Open Qualifier at Glade.
Here are the tee times for today's pre-qualifier:
Par 71 - 7121 yards
7:30 a.m. Matt McNutt, Jamie Hall, Alan Cooke
7:39 a.m. Randolph Schafer, Crawford Reeves, Evan Muscari
7:48 a.m. Ryan Clark, Josh Leibfreid, Brian Hart
7:57 a.m. Jeff Curl, Peter Campbell, Ken Lacy
8:06 a.m. Martin Jeppesen II, Garrett Osborn, Brad Schneider
8:15 a.m. Davey Jude, Stuart Larus, Chris Sherry
8:24 a.m. Shawn Tipton, Clifford Blanquicet Jr., Ryan Harris
8:33 a.m. Donald Jones, Brandon Fivecoait, Zacheng Dou
8:42 a.m. Douglas Reed, Eric Shriver, Ben Silverman
8:51 a.m. CG Mercatoris, Korey Watts, Jacob Eggers
9:00 a.m. Timothy Hegarty, Chris Dillow, Mike Schu
9:09 a.m. Garland Green, Christian Brand, Brian Maurer
9:18 a.m. Jay Woodson, Justin Peters, Adam Nelson
9:27 a.m. Doo Kang, Jimmy Gillam, Michael Ferguson
9:36 a.m. Alan Podolsky, Wesley Bryan, Drew Weaver
9:45 a.m. John Ross, Jay McLuen, Michael Wade
9:54 a.m. Robin Kang, Jack Fields, Jeff LimSharpe
10:03 a.m. Shepherd Archie, Frank Talley, Jonathan Brain
10:12 a.m. Scott Griffin, Chris Hensler, Jon Bartlett
10:21 a.m. Bryan Mays, David Hudgins, Michael Stewart
10:30 a.m. Thomas Edwards, Darcy Donaldson, Lanto Griffin
10:39 a.m. Adam Sumrall, Ryan Terdik, Robert Fredeking
10:48 a.m. George Bryan, Griffith Hunter, Tripp Harris
10:57 a.m. Grant Leaver, Joshua Brock, Brendan Gielow
11:06 a.m. Justin Caroli, Dustin Roberts, John Griffin
11:15 a.m. Corbin Mills, Blake Davis, Davis Lee
11:24 a.m. Hampton Ballard, Matthew Short, Bryan Pierce
11:33 a.m. Joseph Ambrose, Ryan Blaum, John Kelly
11:42 a.m. Tully Coyle, Tain Lee, Samuel Beach
11:51 a.m. Trenton Deal, Asaeli Batibasaga, Todd Albaugh Jr.
Noon Preston Dembowiak, David Bradshaw, Scot Ploucha
12:09 p.m. William Betts, Chris Ross, Kenneth Hess
12:18 p.m. John Popeck, Austin Gutgsell, Philip Hendrickson
12:27 p.m. Brian Cooper, Daniel Obremski, Mark Baker
12:36 p.m. Mike Van Sickle, Aaron Fuller, Andrew Mason
12:45 p.m. Brad Westfall, Mitchell Gray, Evan Smith
12:54 p.m. Ryan Zylstra, Fielding Brewbaker