Professional golfers don’t surrender their dreams easily, even when evidence suggests they should. But overnight, outside Greenville in South Carolina, Michael Arnaud showed why.
Arnaud, a resident of Louisiana, won theTour’s BMW Charity Pro-Am by five strokes to become what must be the unlikeliest winner of an event on a US PGA Tour-sanctioned circuit this year. In the process, he has positioned himself to earn main tour membership next season.
Even to call Arnaud a journeyman is a stretch. He is 36 and had played only oneTour event this year prior to the BMW, shooting 81 and 75 and missing the cut. He has played only one US PGA Tour event ever, missing the cut in the Valero Texas Open in 2011.
He has played mostly on the obscure APT Tour, where players pay a $US985 entry fee per tournament. In four APT Tour events this year, he has earned $US8,494.
Oh, and he was the last man in the field, getting a start in the BMW only when Kent Bulle withdrew on Wednesday. “Have a great week,” Bulle tweeted to Arnaud on Wednesday.
He complied. After opening with a 69 at the Cliffs Valley course, Arnaud was nine-under par through seven holes at the Thornblade Club in the second round, flirting with 59 and settling for an 11-under-par 60. He followed with a 65 at Furman University Golf Course on Saturday, then closed with a 63 at the Thornblade to win going away.
“I’ve had so many people telling me to keep grinding, keep grinding,” he said. “They knew I had the talent to make it out there. My wife just tells me to keep working at it. And that’s what I’ve done. And finally the fruits of my labour have just paid off.
“Wednesday morning, I got up not knowing if I was going to play and hoping I made the right decision to come here. Fate was on my side. Last man in the field and now I’m the first man on top of the leaderboard at the end of the week.”
Arnaud earned $US126,000 for the victory, nearly equalling the $130,358 he earned in 48 priorTour starts between 2009 and 2017. More importantly, he moves from last (with $0) to 13th on the Tour moneylist.
The top-25 at the end of the regular season earn PGA Tour cards. Last year, the 25th player on the moneylist, Roberto Diaz, earned $157,823. Arnaud, now fully exempt on the secondary tour, has 16 events left to secure one of the 25 cards on the top tour.
The dream, until now durable, if nothing else, is alive and well.