published Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Classic success crucial to local pros

Former Baylor golfer Harris English talks to the media on the practice tee at Black Creek on Wednesday.
Former Baylor golfer Harris English talks to the media on the practice tee at Black Creek on Wednesday.
Photo by Tim Barber.

Luke List and Harris English have each played Black Creek Club more than 200 times.

It's where they practiced daily while playing for the Baylor School. List graduated and headed to Vanderbilt when English entered Baylor as a self-described, "Punk eight-grader."

At Black Creek, site of the Children's Hospital Classic beginning today, List and English played friends, teammates and foes for lunch, dinner, dollars, cents, pizza, ice cream, simple pride and perhaps a beer or two in more recent years.

They're playing for much more this week -- a chance at advancing to play on the PGA Tour next year.

The Classic is a pivotal tournament for many on the Nationwide Tour with only two regular season events left before the Tour Championship outside Charleston S.C.

"This is a big week for me, and there's no steering away from that," said List, who is No. 30 on the Nationwide Tour money list.

"I'd like to be in contention on Sunday," he said. "This is a chance for me to jump up a few spots in the money, then put myself in good position the next few weeks, and then play the Tour championship."

The top 60 on the money list after the regular season ends will head to Daniel Island for the final tournament.

After that event, the top 100 have conditional status on the Nationwide Tour next year. Those ranked 26-60 will have full status. And those in the top 25 will be playing with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh and other top PGA Tour golfers.

The winner of the Classic will earn $90,000. Last year, a tie for second earned $44,000, fourth place earned $24,000 and a three-way tie for fifth paid $16,375.

List is less than $10,000 outside the top 25 with three regular season stops and the championship left to play. He's never been this high on the money list this late in the season.

"It's not uncharted water because I should have been here a long time ago," List said. "I'm ready, and I feel it's my time. Hopefully, this week, it will help me to know this course."

List and English are all-but guaranteed at least full status on the Nationwide Tour next year -- List through his position on the money list and English because he won the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational.

English, who remained an amateur even after his win to play in the Walker Cup, has played only two Nationwide Tour events as a pro.

He tied for 49th two weeks ago in California to earn $2,587. He finished second in a playoff last week in Texas to earn $56,700 which jumped him to No. 79 on the money list. English is about $23,000 out of the top-60.

"Coming in to the last couple weeks my goal was to make the Tour championship, and that's still my goal," said English, who is exempt into the second-stage of Q-school should he need it.

"The ball is in my court, and I control what I do from here," he said. "I have nothing to lose. I'm getting my feet wet and I'm going to go out and have fun. My game is in great shape, so let's see if I can keep it going here."

about David Uchiyama...

David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...

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