Casey has returned...No Ty Tryon story for him
When Casey Wittenberg lost in the final of the USGA Amateur in 2003, it was by the slimmest of margins. Believing that he had accomplished all he might among the non-professionals, he turned pro after one college year, one college season, at Oklahoma State. Stupid move. Must have never heard the name “Ty Tryon.”
Four or so years later, Wittenberg is back in form. He placed third today at the Nationwide Tour’s Athens Regional Foundation Classic, moving from 29th on the money list. He will most certainly move into the top fifteen on that ranking. Since the top 25 at the end of the season earn a PGA tour promotion, Wittenberg has a jump on the coveted tour card.
Interesting are three players by whom Wittenberg passed this week. At 28 was Ricky Barnes, the 2002 USGA Amateur Champ gone missing; at 27 is Bubba Dickerson, the 2001 Champ; at 25 is Colt Knost, last year’s USGA Am and PubAm champ. The national amateur championship of the USA has not exactly been an accurate predictor for high-level professional success. Here are the last six results and the current status of the winners and runners-up:
2002–Ricky Barnes (Nationwide Tour) def. Hunter Mahan (PGA Tour)
2003–Nick Flanagan (PGA Tour)def. Casey Wittenberg (Nationwide Tour)
2004–Ryan Moore (PGA Tour) def. Luke List (No Status)
2005–Edoardo Molinari (European Tour)def.Dillon Dougherty (No Status)
2006–Richie Ramsay (European Challenge Tour)def. John Kelly (No Status)
2007–Colt Knost (Nationwide Tour) def. Michael Thompson (in College)
Wittenberg is an exciting golfer who once placed in the top 15 at The Masters as an amateur. His placement earned him a coveted invitation for the following year. Now that he’s learned how to play professionally, one can anticipate success from the former prodigy.
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