Saint Stephen’s and University of South Carolina alumnus Sean Kelly is one step closer to the Web.com Tour, the men’s professional golf tour just below the PGA Tour.
Kelly left no doubt about his game during the second stage of Web.com Tour Qualifying School last week.
Playing Plantation’s Plantation Preserve Golf Course and Club, Kelly secured one of the qualifying berths with a 13-under par 271 total over four rounds.
That left Kelly tied with two others atop the leaderboard.
The top 20 and ties advanced to the final stage Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Ariz., where players will compete for a Web.com tour card for the 2018 season.
The top 25 money winners on the season-ending money list earn a PGA tour card for the subsequent year.
A third-round 65 highlighted Kelly’s stellar performance.
In addition to Kelly, Bradenton’s Erik Barnes also advanced from the Plantation site, which was one of three second stage venues held Nov. 7-10. Barnes posted a 10-under 274 to tie for ninth place.
No other local players qualified from Plantation, Brooksville’s Southern Hills Plantation or TPC Ranch in McKinney, Texas.
Kelly and Barnes aren’t the only Hometown Heroes this week. There were several standout performances on the gridiron as well.
Let’s take a look:
Brian Bembry: The former Palmetto High star, who eschewed Division I football for Carson-Newman, received All-South Atlantic Conference second-team defense honors. Bembry, who missed last season with an injury, returned in 2017 as a force. He tallied 27 tackles, four tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks for his second career All-SAC honor.
Nickolas Null: Making big kicks was Null’s reputation at Manatee High, and he’s continued to do so for Cornell. On Oct. 28, Null nailed a 43-yard field goal with 48 seconds left to give the Big Red a 29-28 victory over Ivy League foe Princeton. Null also set a program record with seven punts inside the 20-yard line against Dartmouth on Nov. 4. Null was the Ivy League’s special teams player of the week for three straight weeks, which had happened only twice before at Cornell. Null earned Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) special teams honorable mention honors for a third straight time, too.
Kelvin McKnight: Just another scorching season from the Manatee High alumnus, as McKnight leads Samford wide receivers with 69 catches for 951 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s also averaging a team-high 114.3 all-purpose yards per game.
Ferris State: The school is also known as Manatee University considering the number of former Hurricanes stars leading Ferris State’s march into the Division II playoffs the past few seasons. Now down to three former Canes (all seniors), Ferris State is 9-1 with Marquis Dawsey, JaJuan Pollock and Marquel Hines wrapping up their collegiate careers. Dawsey, a defensive end, has 13 tackles (one for a loss) this season. Pollock (five catches, 73 yards) and Hines (seven catches, 70 yards) play wide receiver. The Bulldogs open the D-II playoffs against Ouachita Baptist on Saturday.
Florida Tech: Palmetto’s Ian Pittman (seven tackles, 1.5 sacks), Palmetto’s Simon Williams (two receptions, 22 yards, one TD) and Braden River’s Troy Gatling (11 tackles, two pass breakups) contributed this season for Florida Tech.