Albany native Josh Broadaway, who climbed as high as 13th on the Nationwide Tour money list two months ago and seemed poised to finally earn his PGA Tour card after nearly a decade of trying, finishes a disappointing 28th on the money list after a sub-par finish Sunday at the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship.
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Josh Broadaway's emotions were wide-ranging Sunday.
He was disappointed that he won't be joining the PGA Tour next year via automatic exemption after failing to finish in the Top 25 on the Nationwide Tour money list.
And he was discouraged at how he played down the all-important final stretch that included three missed cuts.
But after nearly 10 years of trying to graduate from golf's lower-tiered pro tour to the Big Show -- and coming closer this year than ever before -- the Albany native vowed one thing Sunday after the final round of the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship: He would not give up.
"I just didn't get it done, and I get emotional thinking about what I could've done differently and how I didn't play well when the pressure was on, but there's nothing else to do from here but go back to the drawing board and keep trying," Broadaway told The Herald via telephone after his final round at Daniel Island Golf Club, where he finished with an even-par fourth-round score Sunday to end tied for 29th in the 60-player field. "The good news is because I finished in the Top 40 on the money list, I get to go straight to the Q-School Finals in December with a chance to still earn my card."
That's the good news.
The bad news, of course, is that Broadaway, 33, will not be joining the countless friends of his who have already graduated from the Nationwide to the PGA -- not right away, anyway.
He's still got a chance to earn that elusive PGA Tour card if he can regroup and put together another great round of golf at the Tour's Qualifying-School Finals in December in Palm Springs, Fla. -- the kind of rounds that took him from outside the Top 100 on the money list in July and sky-rocketed him up the leaderboard during the summer. Q-School allows players to play their way onto the PGA Tour by going through several qualifying stages once the season ends, but since Broadaway finished in the Top 40 in the Nationwide money list, he's automatically locked in for the finals in Florida, where the Top 25 finishers -- out of a field of more than 200 players -- will be given PGA exemption for 2012.
"If you had told me when this season started that I'd finish 28th on the money list, earn ($169,239 this season) and go straight to the Q-School Finals, I'd have told you I'd take it," said Broadaway, whose season earnings in 2011 are second only to the $172,881 he earned in 2008 when he finished 36th on the money list; that year the Nationwide Tour had more tournaments and the Top 25 money list cut was slightly higher.
"But that's just the way it goes," he added. "You can't play the way I played down the stretch and expect to get in. I put too much pressure on myself, I tried too hard and I just didn't get it done. It's definitely disappointing."
But while he may have squandered the opportunity, 2011 was still a remarkable year of golf for the Byne Christian alum, who is currently Albany's only touring pro.
After all, Broadaway didn't even start the season on the Nationwide Tour after losing his full-time player status due to a down season in 2010 that saw him finish 98th on the money list and earn just over $50,000 through 24 tournaments. But after earning a sponsor's exemption at the South Georgia Classic in Valdosta in May, he played his way back onto the Tour, then proceeded to post seven Top 25 finishes out of eight tournaments during a hot streak between July and September, including earning the biggest single-tournament payday of his career ($70, 400) at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational on July 24, and tying a career-high finish of third (Price Cutter Charity Championship, Aug. 14).
At one point, he climbed all the way to No. 13 on the money list and looked primed to graduate to the PGA Tour, but after that streak of Top 25 finishes was snapped on Sept. 18 at the Albertsons Boise Open -- Broadaway finished tied for 33rd, despite leading the tournament at one point on the final day -- it was pretty much downhill from there. In his next five events, he finished tied for 49th, missed a cut the next week, then finished tied for 76th, followed by two more missed cuts.
Sunday's tie for 29th at the season-ending championship in Charleston, S.C., proved to be his best week of golf in nearly two months -- but it still wasn't enough. After entering the Tour Championship 27th on the money list -- and just $4,391 behind Billy Hurley III, who held down that all-important 25th place -- Broadaway needed a Top 25 finish, or higher, to have a shot at making it. But a 5-over third round Saturday all but sealed his fate, despite entering the third round in a tie for 23rd place at Daniel Island.
"The conditions were tough (Saturday) and that usually plays right into my hands, while it hurts other guys -- but that's not how it turned out," he said. "But I can't be too upset considering this was one of the best years of golf I've ever had. I only missed six cuts all season and was consistent all year with my play for the most part.
"Right now, I'm just trying not to think too much about what went wrong and just focus on what I have to do next to (get to the PGA Tour). I've had a lot of texts and calls from friends all week telling me to keep my head up and that I'll get there soon, and not to worry. So from here, I'm going to go home, chill out for a few days and see my family. Then I'll get back on the golf course and go back to work. That's all I can do."