2018 Web.com Tour Qualifying School | Day 4, Stage 2 | Jordan Niebrugge

2018 Web.com Tour Qualifying School | Day 4, Stage 2 |Jordan Niebrugge

MURRIETA, California — It didn't matter Friday if you were Jordan Niebrugge and punched your ticket to the final stage of Web.com Tour Qualifying School.

Or if you were Dan Woltman and failed to get to the finals by a single shot. Or if you were Patrick Stolpe and saw your hopes of getting past Stage 2 vanish with a bumpy ride on the back nine at Bear Creek Country Club in the final round. Or if you were Neil Johnson, never got the putter rolling and walked away from your week-long stay in the Inland Empire feeling a little empty.

The question foremost on the minds of the four Wisconsin golfers who teed it up this week was consistent Friday once Stage 2 was over: What's next?

"It can go either way; that's just how golf is," Niebrugge said after shooting a second straight 2-under-par 70 and finishing the 72-hole second-stage test with a 10-under-par 278 total, six shots behind winner Armando Favela of Chula Vista, California (71). "You see it this week; there are a lot of great players that don't ... get through. I've been in that situation — I missed at first stage two years ago and I missed last year at the final stage.

"You just have to be confident in what you're doing. I felt I had a pretty good plan this week for this course and I just did what I needed to do."

Indeed, Niebrugge shook off a slow start — he was 1-over a bogey at No. 4 and still 1-over after through seven holes — and made back-to-back birdies at Nos. 8 and 9 to make the turn in 1-under 35. He eagled the par-5 12th hole, parred his way to No. 18 and made bogey after his drive came to rest under the lip of a fairway bunker, leaving the former Mequon Homestead golfer with a beefy putt and leading to a three-putt bogey to finish the week.

"I think that's what made my tournament; I played the front side great — in like 6-under," Niebrugge said. "It's the harder side and I played it awesome. Once I made the eagle putt on (No.) 11, I was talking to Austin (Gaugert, his caddie) coming down (No.) 18 and the focus went a little on the wayside."

At least it was Niebrugge's focus and not his Web.com Tour status that might have taken a detour. It was a different story for the other Wisconsin golfers.

Woltman came the closest to making it through, finishing birdie-birdie on Nos. 8 and 9 for the second day in a row to close out a 5-under 67. His 5-under 283 missed by one shot of getting the former University of Wisconsin golfer from Beaver Dam into the top 18 and earning him a trip to the finals in Chandler, Arizona next month. And, actually, it was much closer than that.

His eagle chip from in front of the ninth green missed falling by a foot or two. Later, 19-year-old Norman Xiong of nearby Canyon Lake — the 36-hole co-leader at last week's PGA Tour event in Jackson, Mississippi — knocked in a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 18 after bogeying Nos. 16 and 17 to push the qualifying cut to 6-under a few groups after Brock Mackenzie coaxed in a slippery 12-footer for par to shoot 68 and do his part to knock out Woltman.

"At the start of the day, I knew 6-(under) would be good," said Woltman, who closed the week 69-67 after starting it 73-74. "I played some good golf. I played much better the last two days than the first two days so I'm happy about that. And at 5-under, I'm happy with the birdie-birdie finish.

"Hopefully, it's good enough. If it's not, it's been a good year and it was nice at least to play two good rounds to finish off because the first two days it was frustrating. So if I miss by one (shot), it will actually feel better than if I had missed by 10 (shots) playing poorly all four days."

Stolpe knows the feeling. He played solid golf for 63 holes, making a birdie on the par-5 ninth hole to make the turn at even-par for the day and 6-under for the week. However, the 37-year-old Oostburg native saw his hopes of making his second-stage debut a successful one dashed with three straight bogeys to start the back nine as his closing 76 left him four shots out of the top 18.

"I'll definitely be back," Stolpe said. "I just got a few bad breaks, hit a few bad shots and wasn't making the putts. It just wasn't my day."

For Johnson, meanwhile, it wasn't his week. 

His 72-72-74-72 card reflected a golfer unable to find many birdies, let alone a run of them. Johnson, 36, finished eight shots outside the cutline, leaving him to cobble together a 2019 schedule .... if that's the direction he goes.

"It will all start to sink in in a day or a couple days or something," Johnson said. "Immediately, I just know I putted horrible all week. I shouldn't say horrible; I just didn't make anything all week. I had a great looks.

"(Friday), I was trying. The whole week, I was grinding, trying to find something. It just never happened. It's a couple years in a row here."

So what is next for the four Wisconsin golfers? While Woltman, Stolpe and Johnson — all 30-somethings trying to weigh the merits of continuing to explore their golfing prime with the financial resources to do so — Niebrugge has plenty on the to-do list at next month's Web.com Tour Q-School finals.

"It's just begun," said Niebrugge, who went from the top five on the Mackenzie Tour/PGA Tour-Canada Order of Merit to the final stage of Web.com Q-School and failed to gain exempt status. "This week was big for me to not only get through, but to get a little more experience. I played Whirlwind (in Chandler) last year and know how to play the course. I have more than 10 or 15 rounds there. 

"The last couple years have probably not been what I wanted, especially coming out of college. This last year, I've been trending in an awesome direction. I've gone to see Adam Porzak and Mike Pitt (at The Golf Academy in San Diego) and they've done everything for me and gotten me back on the right track with everything."


Wisconsin leaderboard
PosPlayerToday TotalR1R2R3R4Total 
T6Jordan Niebrugge  Mequon, WI-2F-1066727070278 
T19Daniel Woltman  Beaver Dam, WI-5F *-573746967283 
T29Patrick Stolpe  Oostburg, WI+4F-272696976286 
T45Neil Johnson  River Falls, WIEF *+272727472290 
Full Leaderboard
QUALIFIERS (18)
1Armando Favela  Chula Vista, CA-1F-1668637071272 
2MJ Maguire  St. Petersburg, FL-4F-1568696868273 
T3David Gazzolo  Riverside, CA-5F-1368707067275 
T3Cody Blick  Alamo, CA-1F-1372666671275 
5Brett Coletta  Australia+2F-1168686774277 
T6Matt Campbell  Clifton Park, NY-4F-1071677268278 
T6Jordan Niebrugge  Jupiter, FL-2F-1066727070278 
T8John Oda  Las Vegas, NV-4F-968737068279 
T8Josh Creel  Cheyenne, WY-3F-969707169279 
T10Steven Alker  Fountain Hills, AZ-4F-869717268280 
T10Lorens Chan  Los Angeles, CA-2F-869647770280 
T10Richard Lee  Phoenix, AZ-3F-871716969280 
13Byron Meth  Tempa, AZ-4F-772687368281 
T14Brock Mackenzie  Scottsdale, AZ-4F-669747168282 
T14Benjamin Alvarado  Chile-4F-672717168282 
T14Seann Harlingten  Canada-4F-670727268282 
T14Timothy Madigan  Las Cruces, NM-1F-672697071282 
T14Norman Xiong  Las Vegas, NV-1F-669687471282 
DID NOT QUALIFY
T19Daniel Woltman  Beaver Dam, WI-5F *-573746967283 
T19Jonny Baxter  Pleasanton, CA-2F-571687470283 
T19S.J. Park  La Habra, CA-2F-570746970283 
T22Zach Foushee  Lake Oswego, OR-1F-471707271284 
T22Denzel Ieremia (a)  Ames, IA-1F-478676871284 
T22Yannik Paul  Phoenix, AZEF-472746672284 
T22Jamie Sadlowski  Canada+2F-470716974284 
T22Harrison Endycott  Australia+2F-471697074284 
T27Manav Shah  Bakersfield, CA-1F-366757371285 
T27Yikeun Chang  Hacienda Heights, CA+3F-368746875285 
T29Zahkai Brown  Golden, CO-2F-272756970286 
T29Nick Flanagan  San Antonio, TXEF-274687272286 
T29Dusty Fielding  Richfield, UT-1F-265797171286 
T29Patrick Stolpe  Scottsdale, AZ+4F-272696976286 
T33Chris Killmer  Bellingham, WA-1F-174717171287 
T33David Mathis  Wake Forest, NC-2F *-173687670287 
T33Alex Springer  Stilwell, KS-3F *-177726969287 
T33Jimmy Gunn  Mesa, AZ-4F *-170787168287 
T37Johnny Ruiz  Camarillo, CA+1FE71727273288 
T37Zane Thomas  Las Vegas, NV-1F *E72757071288 
T37Andres Gonzales  Lakewood, WA-2F *E69777270288 
T37Blair Hamilton  Canada-3F *E75737169288 
T41Michael Putnam  University Place, WAEF *+179667272289 
T41Chris Williams  Moscow, ID+2F+173707274289 
T41Curtis Yonke  Olathe, KS+1F+171747173289 
T41Steve Allan  Scottsdale, AZ-1F *+173717471289 
T45Benjamin Campbell  New Zealand+2F+273746974290 
T45Neil Johnson  River Falls, WIEF *+272727472290 
T45Bart George  Arnold, MD-1F *+276737071290 
48Andre Metzger  Scottsdale, AZ+1F *+375776673291 
T49Justin Keiley  Haiku, HIEF *+471777272292 
T49Brad Adamonis  Coral Springs, FLEF *+475766972292 
T49Sebastian Saavedra  Argentina-2F *+474757370292 
T52Riley Wheeldon  Canada+4F *+571747276293 
T52Juan Diego Fernandez  Paradise Valley, AZ+1F *+577717273293 
T54Mark Hensby  Scottsdale, AZEF *+671777472294 
T54Nahum Mendoza III  Chula Vista, CA-2F *+679747170294 
T56Ryan Williams  Phoenix, AZ+3F *+774757175295 
T56Ben Geyer  Arbuckle, CA+3F *+777746975295 
T56Robbie Greenwell  Canada-2F *+778737470295 
T59Ted Purdy  Phoenix, AZ+6F *+973757178297 
T59Kaleb Gorbahn  Reno, NV-1F *+974747871297 
61Skyler Finnell  Carmel, CAEF *+1075747772298 
62Edward Olson  Aptos, CA+2F *+1173737974299 
T63Eric McCardle  Las Vegas, NV+10F *+1274717382300 
T63Mathias Dahl  Sweden+4F *+1272767676300 
T63Jay Hwang  Fullerton, CA+2F *+1275757674300 
66Jonathan Sanders  Chatsworth, CA+1F *+1381747373301 
T67Jin Zhang  Temecula, CA+10F *+1477746982302 
T67Alex Franklin  San Rafael, CA+3F *+1475767675302 
69Myles Lewis  New Orleans, LA+5F *+1678737677304 
70Redford Bobbitt  Las Vegas, NV+8F *+2172847380309

Rob started covering the Wisconsin golf scene in 1987 at the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison & has been the only reporter covering all levels of state golf. He joined Killarney Golf Media in Sept. 2015 & helped launch Wisconsin.Golf in Jan. 2016.