Written by Karen Moraghan
January 30, 2015
At the inaugural Linger Longer Invitational in 2006, Florida State University sophomore Jonas Blixt struggled to finish tied for 19th, with a pair of 75s on his scorecard. By 2013, the young Swedish golfer was one of the rising stars on the PGA Tour, picking up his second victory, and by 2014 had won more than $5 million on tour.
Many of the best young players in the game compete in the Linger Longer Invitational each year. Before they became hot young stars on the PGA Tour, Rickie Fowler and Chris Kirk were just college kids who came to Reynolds Lake Oconee to play in the tournament. So were Harris English and Russell Henley; Kyle Stanley, Peter Uihlein and Bud Cauley.
At the time, most were names only golf insiders recognized. Now they are part of the young but impressive legacy of the Linger Longer Invitational, whose alumni already have combined to earn more than $45 million on the PGA Tour, as well as another £2.6 million on the European tours and more than $1.5 million on Web.com Tour.
Kirk, the Georgia Bulldog who won at Reynolds Lake Oconee in 2007, and English, another former Bulldog, are two-time PGA Tour winners. Stanley (Clemson) and Henley (Georgia) have each won once, while Uihlein (Oklahoma State) became a winner on the European Tour.
“It is remarkable to see the names that have come through to play in the event,” said Jay Moseley, coach of Kennesaw State, the co-host school along with Mercer University.
The most popular player on the list of Linger Longer Invitational alumni is Fowler (Oklahoma State), whose commercial success earns him a reported $2.5 million a year off the course. With one Tour win under his (often white) belt, Fowler has a colorful style and rock-star image that resonates with golf fans.
“I am sure the players like to put their name on a trophy that all those other people have won,” said Mercer coach Steve Bradley. “But I think it is just as important for the Reynolds Lake Oconee community to be proud of the players who have won there and played there and say, ‘I watched him in college.’”
The depth of talent in the Linger Longer Invitational shows up in how the leading alumni finished: Fowler was tied for fifth; Blixt was never higher than 8th; English was 4th twice; Henley 5th at best; Uihlein never cracked the top 20.
Seemingly everywhere you look on a tour scoreboard, you will find “LLI Alumni.” Here’s how some of them are doing with their golf careers – in alphabetical order; PGA Tour career earnings through 2014 (years played at Linger Longer Invitational in parenthesis):
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