DANIELS, W.Va. — Doug LaBelle was playing on four hours sleep. Brian Agee was trying to launch his pro golf career at age 37. Mikey Moyers and Jeff Curl both had made other plans for the coming week.
Yet the four happily intermingled Monday afternoon, earning qualifying spots for the Greenbrier Classic.
Curl and LaBelle fired 6-under 65s while Agee and Moyers finished at 66 to emerge from a 68-player qualifying field at Glade Springs.
They’ll be scattered among the more recognizable PGA names when the fifth annual Greenbrier event opens Thursday.
Curl was scheduled to take his pregnant wife to the Bahamas this week, but instead they’ll be vacationing at the Jim Justice-owned resort.
“The Bahamas are gone,” said Curl, 35, who’s currently 55th on the Web.com Tour money list. “But my wife’s excited for the Adam Levine concert. That was my one selling point: If we don’t get to go to the Bahamas, at least she can see Adam Levine.”
Convinced he was on the cusp of a personable-best round—”I should have shot 8-under on the front nine,” Curl said—he was only 2-under at the turn but still played well enough to co-medal on the Cobb Course.
“Probably one of the better rounds I played all year,” he said. “I hit so many good shots. I only had one nervy drive all day.”
Moyers wasn’t nearly so confident.
After missing a final-hole 15-footer, the recent Virginia Tech grad presumed he had missed a chance to force a playoff. Little did he realize that his 5-under had negated the need for a playoff among three previous finishers waiting in the clubhouse with their 67s.
“I didn’t think I had a chance,” said Moyers, an All-ACC golfer in 2013. “I didn’t think I was going to be good enough today. I thought I had to make a few more putts.”
So nonchalant was Moyers that he opened himself up to some motherly scolding when he made contingency plans for the weekend.
“My mom was actually getting mad at me when I told her making the tournament was a longshot. She said, ‘You shouldn’t even go down there with that attitude,’ but I guess sometimes you play better when there are no expectations.”
While Moyers is aiming to make his name at age 23, Agee left his career as a department of defense employee four months ago to chase his PGA dream by teaching golf.
He did so with the blessing of his former company Telos, which now serves as his sponsor.
“Lo and behold they put up some money for me,” said Agee, who admitted his game needed sharpening. He hadn’t played much competitive golf since his college days at Elon.
“It has been small, local stuff—nothing national,” he said. “It was more about leisure golf on the weekends because I had a full-time job.”
The 39-year-old LaBelle, who turned pro in 1998 out of the University of New Mexico, won the Web.com Price Cutter in 2006 and the Utah Championship in 2012. He played on the PGA Tour in 2007 and 2008 and is trying to earn his way back.
“We got in late (Sunday) night and got about four hours of sleep and didn’t even see the golf course, so maybe I need to do more than that,” he said.
Thanks to his caddy researching the course layout on Google Earth, LaBelle had an inkling of what to expect. The world’s 791st-ranked golfer made it pay off.
“There were soft greens and I was able to hit a lot of quality shots that gave me a lot of good looks,” he said. “I made a few putts and didn’t make any mistakes—it was nice.”
Two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen was the most lauded player in the qualifying field. But the 49-year-old shot 1-under-par 70, leaving him four shots behind the final qualifier.
Frank Lickliter—winner of the 2001 Kemper Open and the 2003 Chrysler Classic of Tucson—came closer, before the late finishers eclipsed his 68.