The Travelers Championship, a Designated event with a purse of $20 million, welcomed four Monday qualifiers who secured their spots in the tournament. Among them were former Connecticut teaching professional Brett Stegmaier and a Korn Ferry Tour player who competed in Wichita on Sunday.
Brett Stegmaier took the lead with an impressive 6-under 66. In a playoff with four players at 5-under 67, Kyle Reifers, Carl Yuan, and Ryan Blaum emerged as the survivors. Unfortunately, Stephen Stallings, Jr. narrowly missed out on the final spot.
Reifers advanced on the second playoff hole, while Yuan secured his place on the third playoff hole. This left Blaum and Stallings to battle it out for the remaining spot at TPC River Highlands. Ultimately, Blaum prevailed on the fourth extra hole, showcasing his dedication by flying from Wichita to Connecticut after carding a final-round 66 at the Korn Ferry Tour's Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Wichita Open on Sunday.
For Stegmaier, the event holds special significance as he grew up in Madison, Connecticut, and attended the Travelers Championship as a child. Having previously competed in the tournament five times, with his most recent appearance in 2018 resulting in a T42 finish, returning to his hometown event is an emotional experience for him.
Stegmaier, now 39 years old, spent three full seasons on the PGA TOUR but has made just one TOUR start since losing his card after the 2018 season. This opportunity to compete in his hometown event is especially meaningful for him.
A total of 65 players vied for the four coveted spots at the Travelers Championship, a prestigious event in New England that has been held since 1952, originally known as the Insurance City Open. TPC River Highlands has served as the tournament venue since 1991.
The qualifiers have impressive backgrounds in golf:
Brett Stegmaier (6-under 66): The 39-year-old from Madison, Connecticut, and University of Florida alumnus made eight birdies and secured his spot in his home event. He earned his first PGA TOUR card via the 2015 Korn Ferry Tour and has previously competed in the Travelers Championship.
Kyle Reifers (5-under 67, advanced in playoff): Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, and an alumnus of Wake Forest, the 39-year-old made five birdies in a bogey-free round to earn his spot. Reifers has 87 cuts made in 163 PGA TOUR starts and finished second in the 2015 Barracuda Championship.
Carl Yuan (5-under 67, advanced via playoff): A 26-year-old from Dalian, China, and a University of Washington alumnus, Yuan made six birdies in his round to secure his place in the playoff. He is a TOUR rookie and earned his first TOUR card through the 2022 Korn Ferry Tour, highlighted by a win at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open.
Ryan Blaum (5-under 67, advanced via playoff): From Miami, Florida, and a Duke University alumnus, the 39-year-old made seven birdies in his round. Blaum concluded the Korn Ferry Tour's Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Wichita Open with a 4-under 66 before heading to Connecticut for the Monday qualifier. He has played on the PGA TOUR full-time from 2016-17 through 2018-19, including qualifying for the FedExCup Playoffs in 2017 and 2018.
These Monday qualifiers have demonstrated their talent and determination, earning their spots among