Berganio Hoping to Enlist for PGA Tour of Duty
A PGA Tour card has little in common with a credit card, unless your name is David Berganio.
It’s not a Discover card, but if Berganio gets one he likely will receive a significant cash-back bonus.
It isn’t a Visa, but it can get the Nike Tour player everywhere he wants to be.
“I have no desire to play on the Nike Tour anymore,” he said. “I want to make the PGA Tour. But I’ll just keep plugging along. I’ve gotta grind it out for the rest of the year.”
The 27-year-old Sylmar resident and 1988 graduate of Alemany High has had the goal of reaching the PGA Tour ever since he turned professional in 1994. But last week’s run in the U.S. Open enhanced his desire.
He finished seven strokes out of first, in a tie for 16th with a four-round total of five-over-par 285 at Oakland Hills Country Club.
His name was atop the leader board for a few hours after his first-round 69, and remained near the top, in fourth place, after the round was complete.
His score left him tied with three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo, among others, and was better than those of big-name players such as Payne Stewart, who led after two rounds, and defending champion Corey Pavin.
Berganio, who ranks 10th on the Nike Tour money list, had to go through qualifying to make the U.S. Open field. During his final qualifying round in Columbus, Ohio, he played in a foursome with eventual champion Steve Jones.
“This tournament, coming so close to success, it was real nice,” Berganio said. “Playing on these mini-tours is just paying the dues.”
To earn his PGA Tour card, Berganio must finish the Nike Tour in the top 10. If he does not, he must go through qualifying school in October, six grueling rounds of cutthroat competition in which as many as 1,000 players will compete for 40 berths.
“Right now I’m not thinking about [qualifying] school,” Berganio said. “I just want to play the rest of the Nike Tour and stay in the top 10.”
He did not make the cut in his first U.S. Open as an amateur in 1993 and finished well behind the leaders after making the cut in 1994. He missed qualifying by one stroke in 1995, but says he has learned a little each year.
“I’ve matured with every tournament,” he said. “I was never totally nervous out there this time. I was more concentrating on every shot.”
Berganio, who changed drivers after missing some fairways during Friday’s round, said thinking too much might have cost him an even better showing.
“The fairways are so narrow and the rough so thick that you think you hit a bad drive even though it isn’t that bad,” he said. “A drive that would be left-center or right-center anywhere else is in deep rough at the Open.”
The past week has been extremely draining for Berganio, so he is taking this week off to relax with family and friends in Sylmar.
“It’s been a tough week mentally,” he said. “I needed time to regroup. It’s been like a long hangover.”
He will rejoin the Nike Tour in South Dakota next week to continue his pursuit of a PGA Tour card.
Should he get it, you can bet he won’t leave home without it.
Westlake High alums are playing well as professionals on the Golden State Tour. Chris Zambri ranks second on the money list with $18,815 in 27 events. Charlie Wi is 20th with $5,164 in only nine events.
Darren Angel of Granada Hills finished his freshman season at Arizona State ranked as the No. 5 college player in the nation, according to the Rolex Collegiate Golf rankings.
Angel, a graduate of Granada Hills High, was the highest-ranked player for the NCAA Division I champion Sun Devils, who finished as the nation’s top-ranked team.
Tiger Woods of Stanford was No. 1.
Crystalaire Country Club in Llano will host the Southern California PGA Players’ Championship on Monday.
The field of 108 consists of club pros from across Southern California. They will play 36 holes, with the first tee time at 7 a.m.
Spectators are welcome and admission is free.
Tee times are still available for the UCLA Water Polo Scholarship golf tournament that will take place Monday at Braemar Country Club in Tarzana.
The $175 cost includes greens fees, a cart, breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks on the course. Putting, long-drive and closest-to-the-pin contests with prizes also will be held. Proceeds go directly to water polo scholarships.
UCLA basketball Coach Jim Harrick and several former Bruin athletes are scheduled to play. Breakfast is at 9 a.m. and the shotgun start is at 11.