Drew Weaver doesn't mind being back on Hilton Head Island to start another golf season.
The former Virgina Tech standout and 2007 British Amateur champion is a veteran of sorts on the eGolf Professional Tour, having played more than 60 events on the developmental circuit starting its 12th season. One tough week on the golf course, as Weaver experienced at the 2012 PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, brought him back to the Lowcountry.
The ultimate goal, of course, is to earn a PGA Tour card. But Weaver doesn't mind he didn't jump straight there. He's seen guys who turned professional, earned their cards right away and couldn't handle the jump.
Weaver said he's learned a lot about his game as he prepares for the season-opening Palmetto Hall Championship, which starts today at Palmetto Hall Plantation's Arthur Hills and Robert Cupp courses. He'll try to build on a solid 2012 season, which included a torrid stretch in the middle of the year that propeled him to the eGolf Tour money title, with more than $120,000.
From here, he'll try Monday qualifiers at Web.com Tour events, hoping a good week can turn into something special.
'If I can get hot at the right time, really good things can happen," Weaver said.
Weaver missed his first two cuts of 2012, at the Palmetto Hall Championship and Oldfield Open. But during a seven-tournament stretch later in the season, he won the Willow Creek Open and Southern Open and finished second four times.
Weaver earned more than $100,000 by mid-July, becoming the fastest player in the tour's history to six figures. His big year included 10 top-five finishes in 21 starts.
Hilton Head Island resident Chris Epperson will also be trying to follow up a solid 2012 season. Epperson finished third on the eGolf Tour money list, earning almost $75,000, but missed a shot at moving up to the Web.com or PGA Tour when he failed to reach the final stage at PGA Tour Qualifying School.
Hilton Head Prep standout Woody Woodward, who is Wake Forest-bound, will compete as an amateur. Woodward helped lead the Dolphins to the SCISAA Class 3-A state championship in 2012 and finished as medalist.
Weaver lives in Sea Island, Ga., and works with golf instructor Mark Love, Davis Love III's brother. He stays with friends in Bluffton during this stretch of the season -- the tour stops in Okatie next week -- which makes for a comfortable start, even if he hasn't had much success here.
He doesn't blame the layouts, thinks his game can match the courses. Expect Weaver to come out more aggressive this week, a tact he took during his successful run during the middle of the season. More birdies, less thinking about making the cut.
"I feel like I'm due for a great few weeks here," said Weaver, who played in the Junior Heritage, AJGA Rolex and Players Amateur here before turning professional in 2009. "I feel confident with my game."
2013 PALMETTO HALL CHAMPIONSHIP
What: Fourth-annual, 72-hole eGolf Professional Tour event
Where: Palmetto Hall Plantation Club, Arthurt Hills and Robert Cupp courses
Details: Defending champion Brent Delahoussaye, a former Clemson golfer, is in the field. ... Local players include Chris Epperson (Hilton Head Island), Adam Lescalleet (Hilton Head Island), Brad Benjamin (Ridgeland), Nathan Stamey (Bluffton), Joel Hendry (Bluffton), Preston Flick (Bluffton), Nikolai Kovalevskiy (Bluffton), Luke McClellan (USC Beaufort, Ridgeland).
Round 1 tee times
Robert Cupp course
Hole No. 1
8 a.m.: Brent Delahoussaye, Timothy Madigan, Matt Hill
8 a.m.: Chris McCartin, David May, Will Collins
8:20 a.m.: Joel Hendry, Conrad Shindler, Colin Biles
8:30 a.m.: Brian Bateman, Ryan Gildersleeve, MacKenzie Hughes
8:40 a.m.: Thomas Smith, Nick Bova, Barrett Kelpin
8:50 a.m.: Kyle Peterman, Lee Heaton, Paul Woodbury
9 a.m.: Joshua DeWees, Jarred Bossio, Jacob Burger
9:10 a.m.: Ricky McDonald, Amory Davis, Mickey Werenski (a)
12:10 p.m.: Drew Weaver, Cam Burke, Travis Ross
12:20 p.m.: Andy Bare, Clint Jensen, David Robinson
12:30 p.m.: George Bryan IV, Matt Eschenburg, Jonas Enander Hedin
12:40 p.m.: Matthew Ryan, Chris DeForest, Mitchell Krywulycz
12:50 p.m.: Garland Green, Connor Arendell, Brett Munson
1 p.m.: Jesse Smith, Travis Stewart, Bruce Woodall
1 p.m.: Gregg LaVoie, Adam Stephenson, Owen Blackshear
Hole No. 10
8 a.m.: Frank Adams III, Stefan Wiedergruen, Dustin Groves
8:10 a.m.: Harold Varner, Jordan Russell, Chris Baker
8:20 a.m.: Lanto Griffin, Paul Brown, Ryan Nelson
8:30 a.m.: Trevor Bowman, Thomas Buran, Dustin Bray
8:40 a.m.: Ryan Terdik, Jon Kennedy, Brandon Cobb
8:50 a.m.: Jerome Ponniah, Cole Claassen, Clifford Blanquicet
9 a.m.: Wes Worster, David Hilgers, Trevor Sahn
12:10 p.m.: Matt Schall, Daniel Zimmerman, Joshua Brock
12:20 p.m.: Adam Hart, Martin Jeppesen, Brad Miller
12:30 p.m.: Fergal Rafferty, Tripp McAllister, Taylor Floyd
12:40 p.m.: Thomas Curtis, Henry Zaytoun, Chris Johnson
12:50 p.m.: Ben Lee, Robbie Biershenk, Tanner Ervin
1 p.m.: Trey Harris, Michael Foy, Tom Murtagh
1:10 p.m.: Matt Geslin, Nikolai Kovalevskiy, Jeff Sorenson
Arthur Hills course
Hole No. 1
8 a.m. :Kyle Bradley, Eric Shriver, Ryan Sullivan
8:10 a.m.: Jonathan Fricke, Chip Lynn, Wes Roach
8:20 a.m.: Clark Klaasen, Jonathan Cox, Luke McClellan
8:30 a.m.: Tadd Fujikawa, James White, Chris Epperson
8:40 a.m.: Christian Brand, Rob Bennett, T.J. Howe
8:50 a.m.: Kento Mizumaki, Michael Carbone, Raphael Marguery
9 a.m.: Kyle Wittenbach, Chris Olson, Woody Woodward (a)
12:10 p.m.: Kevin McLister, Bryden Macpherson, Chris Naegel
12:20 p.m.: Jay McLuen, Adam Mitchell, Jack Fields
12:30 p.m.: Robbie Greenwell, Michael Wade, Marc Cohen
12:40 p.m.: Brad Arrington, Andrew Gai, Chris Gallagher
12:50 p.m.: Christian Koenig, Nathan Sutherland, Luke Hart
1 p.m.: Robert Chambers, J.R. Warthen, Charlie Gross
1:10 p.m.: Preston Flick, Damian Telles, Mike Furci
Hole No. 10
8 a.m.: Tommy Biershenk, Charlie Winegardner, Seamus Power
8:10 a.m.: Matt Hendrix, Will Golden, Brad Benjamin
8:20 a.m.: Joey McLister, Rafael Campos, Nathan Stamey
8:30 a.m.: Olafur Loftsson, Birgir Hafthorsson, Peter Malnati
8:40 a.m.: Greg Doherty, Eric Dugas, Jake Johnson
8:50 a.m.: David Erdy, Matthew Lawrence, Christopher Magi (a)
9 a.m.: Paul Ferrier, Tripp Bragg, Cedomir Ilic (a)
12:10 p.m.: Tyler Dice, Jake Amos, Daniel Woltman
12:20 p.m.: Wills Smith, Fielding Brewbaker, Ryan O'Donnell
12:30 p.m.: Adam Lescalleet, Shawn Jasper, Bobby MacWhinnie
12:40 p.m.: Tommy McDonagh, Bret Carroll, Jake Scott
12:50 p.m.: Vaita Guillaume, David Chung, Cory Schneider
1:00 p.m.: Walter Harris, Alex Macaluso, Preston Dembowiak
1:10 p.m.: Derek Rende, Andrew Jacobson (a), Alex Boyd