For months, Nationwide Tour golfers have been chasing a spot in the top 25 on the official money list. With a career-best runner-up finish Sunday at the Miccosukee Championship in Miami, Beaufort resident Mark Anderson finally has one.
Now he just has to hold onto it for two more weeks.
Anderson is tenuously perched at No. 25 on the money list. The top 25 after next week's Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island will earn their PGA Tour cards for next season.
But Anderson is doing his best to keep himself from focusing on that fact.
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"I'm just trying to go through the process of playing good golf. That's all I can really do," the second-year pro said in a phone interview from Jacksonville, where he begins the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open today. "The money list is what it is. There's a lot of guys involved, and some of them will play good, and some of them will play bad. I can't control what they do."
Anderson does control his own fate, though, thanks to last week's second-place showing in Miami. The $64,800 he earned was his biggest payday as a pro, and it vaulted him from 53rd on the money list and an almost certain trip to PGA Tour Qualifying School to 25th and a good chance at earning his card without enduring the rigors of Q-School.
The courses this week in Jacksonville and next week at Daniel Island are difficult tests, Anderson said, which forces players to be patient and pick their spots to make aggressive plays. He thinks that plays to his strengths.
If there has been one hole in Anderson's game this season, it has been his driving accuracy -- he ranks 129th on the tour -- but a hot putter can cure almost anything, which was the case for Anderson in Miami. He ranked fifth in the field in putting.
"I've felt pretty good the past month, but last week was kind of the first sign of starting to play better," Anderson said. "Not making mental mistakes, driving the ball well, making putts."
After finishing 60th on the money list last season, Anderson chose to skip Q-School and opt for a second season on the Nationwide Tour to continue his adjustment to professional golf.
The decision seems to have paid off. Maybe not directly -- Anderson's $163,942 in official money would rank 200th on the PGA Tour -- but in terms of feeling more prepared to make the jump to the PGA Tour, no matter which path he takes to get there.
"I think I'm ready," Anderson said. "I feel good. I know my game is way better suited for the PGA Tour. If I get out there, I'm confident I can have success."