Dean Wilson earned his PGA Tour card after finishing tied for 11th at the PGA Qualifying Tournament.
LA QUINTA -- Former Cougars Andy Miller and Dean Wilson earned their PGA Tour cards on Monday, finishing in the top 38 of the 2002 PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament in La Quinta, Calif.
"This was the most gut-wrenching golf I've ever played," said Wilson, who finished tied for 11th in the six-round tournament with a 12-under par 420 (69-65-68-77-72-69). Miller placed 26th in the tournament with a 15-under par 423 (70-68-74-72-68-71).
The tournament, held this year at PGA West's TPC Stadium course, is the culminating event of the PGA Qualifying school, and gives the 38 top golfers a chance to join the 125 exempt golfers (top money makers) on the PGA Tour. Miller and Wilson will join 21 BYU alumni who are currently playing or have played on the Tour, including Miller's father, Johnny Miller (BYU, '68), who has won 25 PGA Tour events, including the U.S. Open (Oakmont, 1973) and the British Open (Royal Birkdale, 1976).
Miller, a four-time All-American who graduated from BYU just two years ago, has been a top money winner on the BUY.COM Tour. He won the State Farm Open in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. on Sept. 29, 2002, shooting a final-round 5-under-par 66, to earn a fully exempt spot on the Buy.Com Tour for the remainder of 2002 and all of 2003. Now he has earned his spot in the PGA.
"It's great to see a kid just two years removed from our program make it into the Tour, said BYU golf coach Bruce Brockbank. "That's great company to be with, but he's an outstanding individual who has prepared himself well for this opportunity."
Wilson played at BYU with PGA Tour professional Mike Weir, winning three straight WAC titles before graduating together in 1992. Wilson was also the WAC individual medalist in 1991.
"Wilson is one of those guys who came from nowhere to be an outstanding golfer. He's a great story," Brockbank said. "Everyone told him he would never make the tour. He worked hard and played on a number of different tours from Asia to Australia."
In fact, Wilson was third on the 2001 Japan PGA Tour money list and won three tournaments in Japan last year, two of which are considered majors of that tour. Wilson also finished tied for 30th at the 2001 U.S. Open.
Miller played in the Utah Classic in September via a sponsor exemption and tied for fourth place, then won a tournament in California. That gave him the comfort of having a place to play next season. He finished strong in the Q-school, shooting nine-under 70-68-74-72-68-71.
Wilson also had a fallback position, having thrived on the Japan Tour as a six-time winner. After leading the Q-school's final stage through three rounds, he recovered from a poor fourth round to finish 12-under (69-65-68-77-72-69).