Card tracker: Stuard, Brehm set for next season; Garber, Gillis have work to do

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Jackson native Brian Stuard has posted three top-10 finishes this season on the PGA Tour.

Just like that, it's late July.

For the casual Michigan golfer — the Sunday duffer, if you will — that means the season almost certainly is more than half over.

Meanwhile, for the state's touring professionals, the calendar means a whole lot more.

The PGA Tour schedule already is coming to a close, and the Champions Tour schedule also has reached a critical point for those hoping to keep their status for next season.

Here's a look at Michigan's touring-professional foursome, and where they stand in securing playing privileges for 2019-20.

Brian Stuard

The Jackson native and Oakland University alumnus is all set to keep his PGA Tour card, sitting at 75th in the FedEx Cup standings with two more regular-season events remaining.

He is headed to the PGA Tour playoffs for a second consecutive season, thanks to three top-10 finishes this season, including a tie for fifth at his home-state event, the Rocket Mortgage Classic, last month.

Stuard, the ultimate PGA Tour check-casher who plays a whole lot of tournaments, took the week off after Detroit, then played the next two weeks.

Detroit, where he played in front of 450 family members and friends, might've taken a bit out of him, as he's missed the last two cuts.

He's taking this week off before returning for the Wyndham Championship in North Carolina, the week before the playoffs begin. 

Stuard, 36, will play next season on the PGA Tour for an eighth consecutive season. This was the fifth season he's topped $1 million in earnings ($1,262,516).

Joey Garber

This was the rookie season for Garber on the PGA Tour, and like with all rookies, there are plenty of ups and downs.

Garber, 27, who's from Petoskey and began his collegiate career at Michigan before transferring to Georgia Tech, has had two top-10 finishes this season, including a tie for seventh at the 3M Open in Minnesota the week after he had a top-30 finish at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

He also had a tie for 10th at the Puerto Rico Open earlier this year, though that was opposite a World Golf Championship and FedEx Cup points were limited.

Garber sits 163rd in the standings entering this week's Barracuda Championship in Nevada, where he needs a really good finish — especially since the FedEx Cup points will be limited again going opposite a WGC event. Then there's the Wyndham next week, which will be Garber's last shot to keep his card. At season's end, the top 125 continue to have full status on the PGA Tour next season.

If he falls short, he will head to the Korn Ferry Tour finals, in hopes of getting hot and performing well enough to earn one of the 25 PGA Tour cards that will be available. If that falls short, a 2019-20 season split between the PGA and Korn Ferry tours is likely.

Petoskey native Joey Garber

Ryan Brehm

Brehm currently is enjoying a couple weeks back home in Traverse City, after nearly three months on the road.

He's sure earned it. Brehm has not a worry in the world at the moment, already having secured his PGA Tour card for 2019-20, thanks to a Korn Ferry Tour victory earlier this summer that vaulted him into the top 10 on the tour's money list.

Next season will be his second go-around on the PGA Tour.

In 2016-17, the Michigan State alumnus and Mount Pleasant native played 25 events, making 17 cuts. But he only had one top 25, made about $400,000 and headed back to the Korn Ferry Tour. The 33-year-old told The Detroit News recently that he's better prepared to handle the promotion this time around.

"I mean, my attitude needed to improve," he said. "The bottom line is that the caliber of play is so close to being the exact same. It's just an absolute razor-thin line between playing on the Korn Ferry or playing on the PGA Tour.

"I don't think the average person understands how close it is."

Tom Gillis

Gillis, 51, the longtime PGA Tour member, came out with guns blazing in his first year on the Champions Tour, earning his card for this season in just eight tournaments — including six top-11 finishes.

This year has been a bit more of a struggle for the Lake Orion native, who has more withdraws (three) than top-10s (one).

That's why Gillis spent thousands of dollars to fly over to Lancashire, England, just to try and qualify for the Senior British Open (which he did as co-medalist in the qualifier). He needs more good finishes to get into the Charles Schwab Cup playoffs and secure his Champions Tour card for next season. The good news is he believes his game is coming around.

After the Senior British, Gillis has seven tournaments to get into the playoffs, including the September stop in Grand Blanc, with the Ally Challenge.

He's at 62nd in the Charles Schwab Cup standings and needs to be in the top 54 by season's end to secure playing privileges for next season.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984