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Sullivan Notches First Win on eGolf Professional Tour

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Greensboro, N.C. – Ryan Sullivan of Winston-Salem, N.C. opted to look away from leaderboards during the final round of the eGolf Gateway Tour’s third annual Sedgefield Classic on Friday – until he arrived on the tee of the par-5 15th.

At that point, the tournament’s overnight leader found out he was tied for the lead with four holes to go alongside one of the tour’s best players in Ryan Nelson of Charleston, S.C.

The “ignorance-is-bliss” theory worked out just fine for Sullivan, who made a clutch birdie on the par-3 16th to grab the outright lead, in turn moving to 4-under par for the week as Nelson was faltering down the stretch.

The late birdie turned out to be just enough for Sullivan, who notched his first career tour win with rounds of 69-68-69—206 (4-under) to earn the event’s $14,000 first-place prize.

Sullivan’s week on the demanding Sedgefield Country Club – Dye Course venue began in stellar fashion with a 3-under 137 total through 36 holes of strong and sturdy spring winds.

The former UNC Wilmington standout and current Web.com Tour member entered Friday’s third and final round one shot clear of playing partners Cam Burke of Ontario, Canada and Matt Thompson of Marshall, Mich., who sat together in a tie for second at 2-under 138.

Ryan Sullivan with family

Ryan Sullivan with family

The early story on day three, however, was Nelson, who birdied Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 to jump out to a torrid 5-under-par start through six holes, vaulting into a tie for the lead alongside Sullivan at 4-under par after the overnight leader birdied the par-5 fourth.

On the tight par-4 sixth, Sullivan blocked his tee shot into the trees right, and had to hit a provisional after the ball was not found in thick brush and leaves.

His second tee shot hit the cart path and bounded down by a creek, leading to a punch-shot for his fourth that settled into a greenside gully. Fortunately, with a putter in hand, he played a Texas wedge up onto the green which hit the flagstick, with his ball coming to rest a few inches away for a tap-in double-bogey.

“That tee shot doesn’t suit my eye. I like to hit a draw and it calls for a cut. I hit it into the leaves and never found it, so I was floored to get out of there with a double,” said Sullivan. “It was damage control at that point.”

The optimistic outlook on the double paid dividends for Sullivan, who immediately birdied Nos. 7 and 8 to make up for the lost shots, moving back to 4-under par for the tournament and tied for the lead alongside Nelson.

“Making those birdies on Nos. 7 and 8 were really big for me. I knew if I kept it around even par out there today, I would be okay,” Sullivan said.

While Nelson was making par after par on the arduous Pete Dye layout, Sullivan stumbled again, this time bogeying the 460-yard par-4 10th to fall one shot back of the tour’s 2014 money leader.

The two players, playing a threesome apart, pared Nos. 11 through 14 before Sullivan finally opted to glance at a leaderboard on the par-5 15th to see how things were shaping up with four holes to go.

“I didn’t look at a scoreboard until 15, but that’s when I saw that Ryan was 5-under on the day and 4-under total,” said Sullivan. “That kicked me into gear because I was getting a bit conservative prior to that, just trying to hit greens. I was just trying to keep ahead of the guys I was playing with, but then I knew that I had to make something happen.”

After missing out on a makeable birdie at 15, Sullivan hit a stellar 5-iron tee shot on the par-3 16th to set up a well-timed birdie to jump back to 1-under on the day and 4-under for the week.

Nelson, playing in the day’s penultimate threesome, missed a 4-foot par putt on the par-4 17th to fall one shot back of Sullivan – who witnessed his final-round foe’s short miss in the group ahead.

“I saw where Ryan missed that putt on 17, so I figured I would be one shot up with two to go,” Sullivan said.

Ryan Nelson

Ryan Nelson

A solid two-putt par on 17 kept Sullivan at 4-under, suddenly in total control of the tournament after Nelson collapsed on the par-4 18th with a closing three-putt double-bogey that left him at 1-under 209 and out of the mix.

Needing just a double-bogey to hold off Nelson, and a bogey to hold off a late-charging Burke, Sullivan stuck a 7-iron to 40 feet at the last, and two-putted for a final-round 69 and his first career eGolf Gateway Tour title.

“Right after you win, you feel like the tournament’s not over,” said Sullivan, who won $14,000. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, you don’t walk away with the winning check. I’m sure it will kick in soon, though.”

The win marked further ascension up golf’s ladder for Sullivan, who turned professional in 2012, competing on the eGolf Gateway Tour in between stints on the Web.com Tour over the last two years.

The 25-year-old held 54-hole leads at the tour’s 2013 Championship at St. James and the 2014 Columbia Open, but closed in 74 both times to sit on the outside of the trophy ceremony.

“This is big for me. Big for my year going forward,” he said.

On the PGA TOUR’s developmental circuit, Sullivan has made two of four cuts this year, posting a season-best T30 at last month’s Chile Classic.

With solid-yet-conditional status, Sullivan has been forced to wait week in and week out to see if his number will come up on the Web.com Tour. That nomadic lifestyle can lead many players astray, but Sullivan feels right at home looking for tournaments to compete in.

“I don’t like to sit still during a week off, I want to compete,” he said. “Hopefully this win will kick start my year and get me ready for my next Web event, whenever that may be.”

Cam Burke

Cam Burke

Burke, a former eGolf Gateway Tour winner, birdied Nos. 15 and 17 late on Friday to move to 2-under par, but pared the 18th to close with an even-par 70 and a 2-under total for the week. The two-time Canadian Amateur champion earned $8,000 for a solo-second-place finish.

The 26-year-old former Eastern Michigan golfer won the tour’s Founders Club Classic in 2013 – one of 12 top-10s posted during his first three years on the eGolf Gateway Tour.

Burke spent all of 2014 on the Web.com Tour before returning to the eGolf Gateway Tour this year, where the Sedgefield Classic marked his first made cut of the season. The runner-up effort was the third of his tour career, dating back to the 2012 season.

Nelson wound up in solo-third place at 1-under 209 following his late-round stumble. He earned $6,500 for the week.

The married father of two now has back-to-back third-place finishes on tour, dating back to a T3 two weeks ago at the Championship at St. James Plantation.

A six-time winner on tour, Nelson won the tour’s money title in 2014 with $112,851 in earnings, thanks in part to a season-ending win at the $300,000 Tour Championship. The breakout season marked the eighth time in tour history that a player eclipsed six figures in single-season earnings.

Rick Lamb of South Bend, Ind. finished in solo-fourth place at even-par 216 after rounds of 74-68-68. The former University of Tennessee standout earned $5,000 for the week.

Lamb, who finished T2 in the NCAA Championships in 2013, joined Sullivan and Chris Kamin of Phoenix, Ariz. as the only players in the field to card back-to-back rounds in the 60s on Thursday and Friday.

• The eGolf Tour would like to thank McConnell Golf, in particular John McConnell, Brian Kittler and Rocky Brooks, for their help in coordinating this event. A special thanks goes to Sedgefield Country Club – Dye Course head golf professional Chris Terry and his staff for helping the tour conduct a successful third annual Sedgefield Classic. Thank you to Sedgefield Country Club – Dye Course superintendent Daniel Knight and his crew for their work on the course coming out of a difficult winter in the greater Greensboro area. Last but not least, thank you to the members of Sedgefield for allowing the tour access to the club’s facilities for the week, and for their efforts in volunteering.

 

Sullivan and Team Ready for 2015 Web.com Tour Season

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January 25th, 2015–Ryan Sullivan is ready for a break out season, his third, on the Web.com Tour.  Sullivan took the 2014 off-season to bolster the team around him to help contribute to his on-course success as he chases his dream of competing on the PGA Tour.  Ryan signed with experienced management agency Fidelity Sports Group to handle his off course affairs.  Shortly thereafter, Ryan worked with FSG to sign a full line equipment deal with Titleist, an apparel deal with Sweden’s J. Lindeberg apparel and a shoe deal with Footjoy.

The 2015 Web.com Tour season starts the week of January 26th in Panama City, Panama.

 

Sullivan Confident for Final Stage of 2015 Q-School

Journal Now
By John Dell

Ryan Sullivan started playing golf the way many area children have — learning from his father (Jack) and playing the par-3 course at Tanglewood Park before easing over to the big courses.
Now 25 and a first-year professional, Sullivan, a Winston-Salem native, is closer to his dream of playing the PGA Tour.

He cleared a big hurdle earlier this month when he cruised through the first stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School, and he’ll be loaded with confidence for next month’s second stage in Tampa, Fla.
When Sullivan turned pro in January after a solid career at UNC Wilmington, he planned to compete on the eGolf Tour and be in a good frame of mind when q-school started. Because he hadn’t been a pro long, he also had to endure a pre-qualifying tournament in Houston, but he made it through with no problem.

“I really felt like my physical ability was there, but I was struggling a little bit with confidence,” Sullivan said of his last few eGolf tournaments.
To fix that, he visited Mike Childress, his swing coach at Tanglewood. The two have worked together since Sullivan was 12.

“Mike just kind of got me back to where I needed to be, and that really helped me once I got to first stage,” Sullivan said. “I really felt comfortable and was ready to go once I got to Irish Creek (in Kannapolis).”

Childress said that Sullivan’s swing, like that of many others, had gotten too long in Sullivan’s bid for more yardage.

“We just worked on shortening the swing a little bit, and when he started doing that, he was hitting it square a lot more,” Childress said. “That really gave him confidence because he was hitting flush. It’s really great that he made it through the first stage, and we are all rooting for him.”
Sullivan, the Forsyth Junior Invitational champion in 2005 and ’06, played very well for four rounds at Irish Creek, shooting 11 under to tie for second. He offset seven bogeys with 18 birdies and kept his cool in a high-stress environment.

“I was frustrated because I missed a lot of putts, but I was telling some friends of mine it was really pretty stress-free golf,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan’s next challenge will be daunting. In the second stage, he’ll compete against PGA and Web.com tour veterans, but the reward for getting through will be status on either of the big tours for 2013.

“Getting to final stage is something that a lot of us mini-tour guys are trying to do,” Sullivan said. Sullivan, a 2007 graduate of Forsyth County Day, has been working on his game daily since the first stage ended, playing at Oak Valley and Tanglewood and working often on the range.
Growing up, Sullivan was purely a public-course player.

“I didn’t have a course as my backyard,” he said. “But I usually found a way to get to course to play whenever I could. “I’m feeling real good about my game, and I’m confident, and with me that’s a big help.”

Sullivan improves status on Latin America Tour

Ryan Sullivan has one less thing to worry about.

Between booking flights and making hotel arrangements in foreign countries for upcoming tournaments and figuring out where he left his passport from his last trip, Sullivan’s whirlwind season of success that began when he played in the U.S Open at Merion in June was made even sweeter recently when he qualified for the final stage of Q-School on the Web.com Tour.

Sullivan Staring Down eGolf Tour Title

Blythewood, SC – Over the past seven months, Ryan Sullivan has won on PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, secured his Web.com Tour card for the year, and made the cut in a PGA TOUR event.

Former UNC Wilmington Golfer Ryan Sullivan Grabs 54-hole Lead at Demanding St. James

Southport, NC – Ryan Sullivan of Winston-Salem, NC entered the third round of the eGolf Tour’s Championship at St. James Plantation just one shot off the 36-hole lead. Roughly five hours later, after carding a 1-under 71, Sullivan had soared to a commanding four-shot lead at 5-under par – just 18 holes away from his first eGolf Tour title.

The Championship at St. James Plantation is the fifth of 24 scheduled events on the 2013 eGolf Tour schedule, and is being contested this week at the Reserve Club at St. James Plantation in Southport, NC.

Friday’s golf began with the completion of round two, which was put on hold after play was suspended due to darkness at 7:25 PM on Thursday night.

Wednesday’s opening round at St. James was also suspended due to darkness, forcing 24 players to return to the course on Thursday morning to resume play, prior to beginning their second rounds shortly thereafter. With resumption of play (as well as the start of the second round) scheduled for 8:00 AM, officials were forced to postpone play for one hour after a heavy frost kept the putting surfaces from being ready until 9:00 AM. The added delay further stalled the completion of round two, which in turn pushed Thursday’s play into Friday morning.

Second-round play finished at 10:00 AM on Friday, with Tim Madigan of Rio Rancho, NM and Bryce Ledford of Chattanooga, TN sharing the 36-hole lead at 5-under 139.

Ryan Sullivan interview after Puerto Rico Classic victory

Ryan Sullivan

In the final round of the Puerto Rico Classic presented by Merrill Lynch, former UNC-Wilmington golfer Ryan Sullivan shot a 65 to capture his first PGA TOUR Latinoamérica victory