January 16, 2023
A brand new Korn Ferry Tour season means a bunch of latest gamers looking for a bunch of latest alternatives to reside out their desires.
And one has already taken benefit of one of many unlikeliest alternatives.
Andre Metzger, a 40-year-old longtime mini tour professional, is taking part in this week’s Bahamas Nice Exuma Traditional, having bought into the sphere when Wesley Bryan withdrew earlier than the primary spherical.
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However that doesn’t start to inform the story of his week as a result of Metzger wasn’t the primary, second, and even the tenth alternate for the Korn Ferry Tour season opener.
He was No. 72 on the alternate record.
This prompts two questions: How do 71 gamers flip down a gap to play in an occasion? And why was Metzger to this point down on the alternate record to start with?
We’ll begin with the second.
In keeping with Ryan French, aka Monday Q Information on Twitter, Metzger teed up at Korn Ferry Q-College in November however got here down with a bout of meals poisoning and tied for 138th. He’s nonetheless a Korn Ferry Tour member, however to this point down within the precedence rankings, it’s unlikely for him to play any occasions, sans sponsor exemptions or Monday qualifying.
Then final month, as Metzger defined after his opening spherical Sunday, he was taking part in golf with a person his sponsor set him as much as meet in December. He was telling his host how he didn’t normally fly right down to the Bahamas for the primary two Korn Ferry occasions, even when he was within the prime 10 of the alternate record.
The journey bills make it fairly uncommon for guys not already within the discipline to go down, he mentioned, however then he heard of a man within the 60s on the alternate record making it into the sphere one 12 months.
“It was loopy to me. I’d have gotten in if I had gone,” Metzger mentioned. “I’m telling this man the story and he simply retired. He was like ‘Properly, I wish to go purchase a sailboat, so why don’t we simply all go to The Bahamas?’”
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Pondering it wasn’t a completely critical provide, Metzger agreed. After which he heard from the person, whom he didn’t title, once more.
“I wasn’t even in communication with him till I all of the sudden noticed him once more,” he mentioned. “I’m telling my spouse, ‘This man is saying that we’re going to The Bahamas and I don’t know, nevertheless it sounds fairly for actual.’ He texts me that evening and requested if my spouse and youngsters needed to go. I mentioned they in all probability would, and he advised me to deliver them alongside and he would pay for everyone.”
The beneficiant host went so far as to compensate Metzger’s spouse for time she’d miss at work and permit her to remain within the Bahamas the entire journey.
Metzger noticed it as a fantastic probability to earn a Korn Ferry begin. Even when he didn’t, it could be at worst a free trip.
However by Sunday — the primary spherical of this week’s match — it was trying an increasing number of like that worst-case state of affairs.
“Truthfully, I used to be simply planning to be on trip,” Metzger mentioned. “I didn’t suppose in any sense that this is able to work, however on the similar time, I’ve seen it work earlier than. It blew my thoughts the primary time.”
However then 11:48 a.m. rolled round and Wesley Bryan withdrew simply two minutes earlier than his 11:50 a.m. tee time. A Korn Ferry Tour spokesperson confirmed that not solely was Metzger the highest-ranked alternate on website, however he was the one alternate on website.
“Considered one of my different buddies knew Wesley Bryan and him pulling out bought me in,” he mentioned. “[Bryan] didn’t even have to drag out, which was very good. So, I watched him stroll in direction of the tee and I believed ‘Okay it’s finished, let’s go have some enjoyable,’ and I used to be simply hanging out. Then we had been advised I had two minutes to get on the tee. I ran over there.”
Bryan and his brother George’s Twitter account, Bryan Bros Golf, later tweeted that the three-time Korn Ferry Tour winner and 2017 RBC Heritage champion was more likely to have a spot in subsequent week’s American Specific on the PGA Tour.
That handed the chance to Metzger, who was about as chilly as chilly may very well be as he hustled as much as the tenth tee.
“I’ve by no means seen this course; I had no clue. I didn’t have time to take a look at my yardage e-book,” Metzger mentioned. “Jared [Wolfe] goes first and hit some type of iron so I simply hit an iron, too. I had no clue. I didn’t know the place my ball was going, and I didn’t even know the place the ball was presupposed to go.”
Metzger really birdied his 2nd gap however made two doubles on the best way to a five-over 77. With a number of gamers nonetheless to complete their first rounds Monday morning, Metzger is 4 photographs outdoors the lower line.
A rally to make the lower would pay large dividends for him as he might then be eligible for the primary reshuffle after the KFT’s fourth occasion. If he finishes properly, it might imply properly over a dozen begins for the remainder of the 12 months.
Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is 2020 graduate of Penn State College, incomes levels in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his highschool golf staff and nonetheless *tries* to stay aggressive in native amateurs. Earlier than becoming a member of GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but additionally producing, anchoring and even presenting the climate. He might be reached at [email protected].