Brett White, who nearly died 6 years ago, among 3 Monday qualifiers for WM Phoenix Open

Brett White, who nearly died 6 years ago, among 3 Monday qualifiers for WM Phoenix Open
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The field for the WM Phoenix Open is completely set, with three players getting through the Monday qualifier and earning their way into the year’s first full-field designated event.

Andre Metzger, Dalton Ward and Brett White will round out the 134-player field at TPC Scottsdale, where the winner Sunday will collect $3.6 million.

Metzger won the qualifier with a 7-under 65. The 41-year-old Scottsdale, Arizona, resident, who lives about 10 minutes from the qualifying site, McCormick Ranch Golf Club, birdied three of his final four holes to punch his ticket into just his second career PGA Tour event. His first was last year’s 3M Open, where he missed the cut.

Metzger played collegiately at Lamar before turning pro in 2007. He played 16 events during the Korn Ferry Tour’s super season in 2020-21, but he notched just one top-25 finish. He has worked as a caddie and pizza delivery driver in the past.

Now, he’s acquired some big-time confidence after topping what could be one of the stiffest Monday qualifier fields ever – 21 top-500 players in the world, including No. 97 Ben Griffin, who is also No. 30 in FedExCup points.

Ward and White each fired 6-under 66 to avoid any kind of playoff and earn the last two of three spots. They ended up a shot better than Cole Hammer, Danny Guise, Michael Gligic,, Austen Truslow, Nicolo Galletti and Sudarshan Yellamaraju. Hammer currently leads the PGA Tour’s non-member FedExCup points list as he chases special temporary status and more.

WM Phoenix Open features ‘super’ field this week

The 31-year-old Ward lives in St. Simons Island, Georgia, and is a product of Tri-County Technical College in Pendleton, South Carolina. This will be the fourth PGA Tour event he had qualified for.

White, 29, might be the best story among the trio. The Eastern Michigan alum nearly died six years ago when he contracted viral encephalitis. He was hospitalized for three weeks and needed to re-learn how to do basic tasks, including walking and talking. Just a month after getting out of the hospital, he was swinging a golf club with support from a gait belt. Nine months after that he was playing tournaments again.

“It’s been a wild ride,” White said two years ago at Q-School. “Over a long journey, sometimes you go back and go, wow, I gotta be thankful for where I’m at. There was a point in the hospital where it was, hey, let’s make sure you can be on your own; and then it was, OK, I want to be able to run around with my kids; then it was, let’s play golf for fun; and it just kept on progressing. I’ve tried to get better every day, and I don’t think I’ve stopped.”

White earned his KFT card for the first time prior to last season after advancing to the final stage of Q-School and earning eight guaranteed starts. But he had just two top-25s in 20 starts and was back at final stage this past year. He’s yet to get into any of the three KFT events this season.

This week’s WMPO start will mark White’s first career Tour start. And he’ll be making it alongside Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and the rest of the PGA Tour’s best – oh, and with $20 million up for grabs.

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