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The Loop

6 guys you should know about who earned their PGA Tour cards in the Tour finale

August 25, 2014

There wasn't a lot of smiling going on Sunday at the inaugural WinCo Foods Portland Open, the final regular-season Tour event. At least not until the very end of final round at Pumpkin Ridge's Witch Course, when a year's worth of grinding ultimately paid off for the 25 golfers who settled at the top of the tour's money list. Each gains entry into the Tour Final Series that begins later this week, but their more satisfying reward is the PGA Tour cards they each secured with their efforts for the 2014-15 season.


So who should we be keeping an eye on in the next year? Here are six notables to follow:



__Carlos Oritz, 23, Guadalajara, Mexico Tour money list:__1 ($515,403)

Ortiz's closing 71 at Pumpkin Ridge's Witch Hollow course helped him secure his third Tour victory of 2014 and clinched the top spot on the money list that he had held since April. Ortiz technically earned a battlefield promotion for his third win of the season, which won't get him in the 2013-14 PGA Tour season but makes him a fully exempt member of the PGA Tour next season, giving him preferred status over other Tour graduates.

__Justin Thomas, 21, Louisville, Ky. Tour money list:__5 ($276,637)

The 2012 NCAA college player of the year at Alabama as a freshman left school after two seasons then needed only one year's apprenticeship on the Tour to gain a spot in the big leagues. Thomas has yet to win a tournament as a pro, but missed just two cuts in 16 Tour starts while posting a 68.90 average and had a T-10 showing while playing on a sponsor's exemption at the Farmers Insurance Open last January.



__Blayne Barber, 24, Tallahasse, Fla. Tour money list:__ 7 ($269,111)

The former All-American at Auburn is best known for advancing through the first stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School in 2012 then disqualifying himself a week later after determining he hadn't properly assessed a penalty during the second round and thus signed for an incorrect scorecard. The decision relegated Barber to mini-tours and Monday qualifiers, but he advanced through Tour Qualifying school last December and recorded five top-10s in 2014, including a win at the South Georgia Classic.

__Jason Gore, 40, Valencia, Calif. Tour money list:__ 9 ($253,046)

It's been since 2009 that the journeyman pro last played full time on the PGA Tour. Gore's 68.81 stroke average in 2014 is a career best on either the PGA and Tours since turning pro in 1998, giving him reason to believe that the 2005 84 Lumber Classic might not go down as his only PGA Tour title.



__Max Homa, 23, Valencia, Calif. Tour money list:__17 ($192,350)

Like Thomas, Homa played on the victorious U.S. Walker Cup team in September 2013 then turned pro and quickly found his way onto the Tour in 2014. The NCAA individual champion at Cal-Berkeley in 2013 has only played in 24 PGA Tour and events since turning pro but has four top-10 finishes, including a victory at the Tour's BMW Charity Pro-Am.

__Kyle Reifers, 30, Columbus, Ohio Tour money list:__ 25 ($146,836)

The Wake Forest graduate finished T-21 in Portland to become the only player outside the top 25 on the money list entering the week to sneak inside the bubble, moving from No. 27 to No. 25. It didn't come easy, however, as Reifers struggled to a 74 in the final round after starting T-4 on the day, but finished birdie-par to grab a PGA Tour card for third time in his career.

Photo: Steve Dykes/Getty Images