After leading for much of the Web.com Tour’s Boise Open last week, only to lose in the final round Sunday, University Place golfer Michael Putnam could have spent the next day in self-pity.
But this was no ordinary Monday.
No, this was a Monday to put aside any leftover disappointment and kindly donate to one of the big, booming personalities in professional golf – Olympia’s Andres Gonzales – at his second annual charity tournament at Tacoma Country & Golf Club in Lakewood.
And that is what Putnam and 10 other professionals did, helping the Capital High and UNLV product raise an expected $50,000-$75,000 for pancreatic cancer awareness and local youth golf programs.
“It is important no matter how we are playing or how we feel to always keep in mind – we are still golfers and we get to live the great life and should do things like this that can really help raise a lot of money for charity,” Putnam said.
“For everyone wanting to come out for free, that shows who Andres is, and that we respect what he is doing and we want to help him out.”
Gonzales started the tournament last year while he was a PGA Tour rookie. He brought out the likes of Putnam, Puyallup’s Ryan Moore, Spokane’s Alex Prugh and mid-level names such as Spencer Levin and Brendan Steele to play in the event.
In a sense, the assembled field for the charity event Monday was more impressive, given who the participants are and how far up they are on the Web.com Tour money list.
Luke List is No. 2 in money and a tournament winner this season.
So is Paul Haley II (No. 6 in money), James Hahn (No. 8) and Hudson Swafford (No. 18) – and even Gonzales himself (No. 7). All of these guys have locked up their PGA Tour cards for 2013.
Others professionals who played included Aron Price, Richard H. Lee (former UW player), Jim Renner, Peter Tomasulo (also a Web.com event winner) and Nate Smith.
Yet, to put this tournament on again, Gonzales had to almost start from scratch, getting to know the players he competes with on a weekly basis, then asking them to sacrifice a little travel time and convenience to play in his charity tournament.
Considering who he drew, they must really like and respect him. Donations provided the flight from Boise and accommodations in Tacoma. But they came for no appearance fee – unusual on any tour – and are on their own to travel to Midland, Texas, for the tour’s next stop.
“Andres is great. We would go anywhere for his cause. He is one of our good friends,” said List, who is a Seattle native.
Would he have done this for others on the developmental Web.com Tour?
List smirked. “Just Andres, I think,” he said.
By the time golf started at 11 a.m. Monday, all Gonzales had to do was be, well, Gonzales – the fun-loving, laugh-a-minute host who has become a popular figure among his golf peers.
“At some point, I would like to (give appearance money),” Gonzales said.
“But the fact I have gotten 10 other guys to come out here and donate their time, donate their energy to help a cause that has affected both me and my wife (Kristin) is awesome.
“I couldn’t be happier and be more proud of the friends and the people I have brought out here.”
Because of the FedEx Cup playoffs, Moore could not return to Gonzales’ event. But his father, Mike, and younger brother, Jason, joined one of the amateur teams. Matthew Stanley, the father of PGA Tour pro Kyle Stanley, from Gig Harbor, caddied for Swafford. Five-time men’s club champion Ray Schuler caddied for Gonzales. Lee, a rookie on the PGA Tour, was a last-minute replacement for James Love, who is so far down the Web.com Tour money list (144th) that he needed to try to qualify Monday for this week’s WNB Golf Classic in Texas. Meanwhile, Lee was home on break after tying for second in Boise and agreed to fill the spot. The 11 teams played in a “shamble” format – where players picked the best tee shot to play, then played their own golf ball the rest of the hole. Putnam’s team (Marty Beauvais, Jerry Johnson, James Kelley, Kent Nelson) won at 28-under-par firstname.lastname@example.org