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Caleb Surratt makes birdie on No. 18 at The American Express
Caleb Surratt woke up at 5 a.m. Monday to do some accounting work. Surratt is a freshman at the University of Tennessee, and Monday was the first day of the semester.
Then he tended to some business on the course. Competing as an amateur, Surratt carded 3-under 69 in windy conditions at Bear Creek GC to earn one of four available spots at this week’s Farmers Insurance Open via Monday qualifying.
Joining Surratt as successful four-spotters into Torrey Pines were Spencer Levin, Robert Garrigus and amateur Harrison Kingsley. Each carded 1-under 71 to punch their ticket to Torrey Pines. No playoff was needed.
In all, 58 players competed for four spots in this week’s field in southern California.
Click here for the full leaderboard.
This marks Surratt’s third TOUR start of the season, after competing at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship and last week’s The American Express just up the road in La Quinta. (He received sponsor exemptions for both starts.) He also finished runner-up at last summer’s U.S. Junior Amateur.
Surratt carded 7-under for 54 holes at The American Express but missed the cut by three strokes, low scores prominent as always in the Coachella Valley. He wasn’t yet ready to head back to Knoxville, though. A few spots remained in the Farmers Monday qualifier; he signed up, played a practice round Sunday and navigated near-brutal conditions Monday with aplomb.
Surratt’s central point of emphasis for this TOUR stretch: gaining as much experience as possible. A student of the game, Surratt referred to veteran TOUR pros in describing his motivations to attempt the qualifier.
“Brian Harman is not nervous on the first tee anymore,” Surratt said. (Harman played one group ahead of Surratt for three days at The American Express.)
“He’s been playing on TOUR for (nearly 20) years, and I feel like the only thing that separates me from Brian Harman, a lot of those guys, is the experience. When I play with those guys, I think, ‘How do they match it up, shoot these 67s and stuff every single round?’
“Not everybody’s Jon Rahm. They just really know how to get it in the hole. The more opportunity I give myself, the better I’ll become at that.”
Surratt made the cut in Bermuda last fall, an eclectic week with rounds of 71-64-85-65. He felt he had his ‘A’ game on three of four days; a 12 at the par-4 14th hole Saturday derailed him. It’s all part of the learning curve, though. He looks forward to gaining more reps this week at Torrey Pines.
“Experience is the most valuable thing,” Surratt said. “As much of that as I can get before I turn pro will be valuable for me.
“(Bermuda) taught me that the dream I’m chasing may not be so much of a dream; I feel like I can really be out here. That’s kind of what’s encouraging me to keep going and keep trying to get spots.”
Here’s a capsule look at the four qualifiers for the Farmers Insurance Open.
Hometown: Indian Trail, North Carolina
Current school: University of Tennessee (freshman)
PGA TOUR starts: 2
Cuts made: 1
Best PGA TOUR finish: T65, 2022 Butterfield Bermuda Championship
Notes: In the midst of his freshman season at Tennessee. In his first collegiate tournament last fall, won the individual title by three strokes at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate. Also finished top-five at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate … Currently stands No. 9 on World Amateur Golf Ranking … Has attained impressive collection of titles including 2021 Junior PGA Championship, Western Junior Championship and Terra Cotta Amateur.
Hometown: Nampa, Idaho
Alma mater: Scottsdale Community College
PGA TOUR starts: 373
Cuts made: 213
Best PGA TOUR finish: Win, 2010 Children’s Miracle Network Classic
Notes: Held full TOUR status from 2006 to 2018. In addition to his 2010 victory at Disney, has recorded six runner-up finishes on TOUR, including three playoff defeats … This marks his second TOUR start of the season; also competed at Butterfield Bermuda Championship. Competed at last week’s The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic on Korn Ferry Tour … Made 14 TOUR starts in 2021-22, highlighted by a T16 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am … Among his thrills in life are making a hole-in-one at THE PLAYERS and catching a 10-pound bass … His father, Tom, won a silver medal in trap shooting at the 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympics.
Hometown: Sacramento, California
Alma mater: University of New Mexico
PGA TOUR starts: 243
Cuts made: 147
Best PGA TOUR finish: Runner-up, 2011 World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba
Notes: Wily veteran has gained legions of fans throughout his career for fiery demeanor and raw expression of emotions … Has played eight full seasons on the PGA TOUR. He finished No. 47 on the 2011 FedExCup, a season in which he finished runner-up to Johnson Wagner in a playoff at Mayakoba. He also qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs in 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016 … Also Monday qualified into the Shriners Children’s Open last fall. Made the cut and finished T44 … Played 16 events on the 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour, highlighted by a T5 at the 2021 Live and Work in Maine Open … Won a sectional baseball title at Elk Grove HS; pitched in three California State Championship All-Star baseball games.
Hometown: Murrieta, California
Current school: University of San Diego (redshirt senior)
PGA TOUR starts: 0
Notes: Named to 2021-22 All-West Coast Conference men’s golf team, reaching No. 91 on the Golfstat College Individual Ranking. Earned individual medalist honors at Mark Simpson Colorado Invitational … Finance major at University of San Diego, set to thrill the local fans this week … Started playing golf when he was 18 months old … Born in Los Angeles and raised in Murrieta … Friend of fellow Murrieta native Rickie Fowler.
Kevin Prise is an associate editor for PGATOUR.COM. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.
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Monday qualifiers: Farmers Insurance Open Monday qualifiers … – PGA TOUR
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