Jeff Quinney In Contention For PGA Rookie of the Year

July 12, 2007

Quinney in running to be top rookie (East Valley Tribune, July 12, 2007)

Quinney in running to be top rookie

by Bill Huffman, East Valley Tribune (July 12, 2007)

Two-thirds of the way through his rookie season on the PGA Tour, Jeff Quinney is pinching himself. 'I guess you can dream up this type of stuff,' said the former All-American at Arizona State who lives in Scottsdale. 'But, honestly, I've already exceeded my expectations.'

What's nice about the sudden rise in Quinney's stock is that he remains the same unassuming nice guy. Ask him about his chances for earning PGA Tour rookie-of-the-year honors, and the 26-year-old Quinney shrugs it off.

'Rookie of the year is not a goal,' he said flatly. 'Getting into the top 30 (money winners) and getting a chance to play in the Tour Championship, that's a goal.'But as far as rookie of the year, that would be more like a bonus than a goal.'

It could happen. Quinney, who graduated with a B.S. in finance in 2002, is locked in a tight race for rookie honors with Brandt Snedeker and Anthony Kim. If the vote were held among those three players today, a runoff would be a distinct possibility.

Quinney has the most top-10s with five, although Snedeker and Kim have four top-10s each. Each player's best finish is a third place.

As far as money goes, Quinney has compiled $1,428,429, while Snedeker is at $1,423,103 and Kim at $1,372,628. That means that Quinney ranks No.?30, Snedeker is at No.?31 and Kim at No.?34.

What's weird about all of the above is that Snedeker ranks No. 27 on the Fed-Ex Cup points list, while Quinney is No. 28 and Kim No. 30. As a result, the PGA Tour projects Snedeker as the leader in the rookie race. Go figure.

'I would have guessed I'm leading, but it's no big deal either way,' Quinney said. 'It's just all about getting to East Lake (the site of the Tour Championship in Atlanta), and if I can do that, it's all going to be sweet.'

Yeah, life is good. Quinney already has made nearly three times the amount of money in 18 starts on the PGA Tour than he did during four seasons and 90 starts on the Nationwide Tour, where he totaled $556,976.

Last week, Quinney played well at Tiger Woods' AT&T National, where he ended up 12th. He was one shot off the lead after the first round, soared to a 5-over 75 in the second, and then rallied back with rounds of 69-69 on the weekend.

'I don't feel like I'm totally on top of my game right now,' conceded Quinney, who entered the John Deere Classic this week. 'I'm not nearly where I was when I was on the West Coast. .?.?.

'But every once in a while I show flashes. Like last Sunday, when I birdied three of the last four holes to move way up the leaderboard.'

As a result, Quinney jumped from No. 104 to No. 95 in the world rankings. However, it's been a tough task to get past that point (the mid 90s) chiefly because he's missed out on some big tournaments. Like next week's British Open, where he came up two strokes shy of qualifying.

'That was tough, because I really wanted to go to my first British Open,' he said. 'But overall, I can't complain.'

No kidding. The only thing that has marred Quinney's initial season with the big boys was a late meltdown at the FBR Open, where he lost a three-shot lead with four holes to play to another Scottsdale guy, Aaron Baddeley.

'Not very,' said Quinney when asked how long it took him to get over his collapse at the TPC of Scottsdale. 'You look back and you wish you had (won), but it got me my card for next season, and that was key. .?.?.

'So I didn't cry over it, I just look at it like it was momentum.'

There are 10 weeks to go until the Tour Championship takes place in mid-September. If I was a betting man -- and I am -- I'd expect Quinney to be in that elite field, on his way to PGA Tour rookie-of-the-year honors.

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