11/09/2015

I’m not going to lie, I never knew if I would see Peter Malnati turn into a winner on the PGA Tour. I didn’t know the guy personally, but from what I’d seen from his results, he had Tour journeyman written all over him.

Nothing stood out.

Malnati’s name first came across my radar when he earned a PGA Tour card after the 2013 season on the Web.com. At the time, he was already 26 years of age (funny how we view age in today’s game, already), and had just worked his way through the depths of the mini-tours.

Despite having no success really to back an argument, staff writer, USGolfTV mainstay and my best friend Dillon Friday had this to say when asked the question, “Who will be the Web.com Tour Graduate to make the biggest splash on PGA Tour in 2014?”

“How about Peter Malnati? The 26 year old former Mizzou Tiger played mini tours before earning a place on the Web.com Tour in 2013. Malnati will compete on the PGA Tour on 2014 by virtue of an 18th place finish on the minor circuit. Malnati won the News Sentinel Open this summer and finished under par at ten of his first twelve Web.com events. He’s already proven he belongs on the PGA Tour. In his second start of the season at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, Malnati shot -11 to finish in the top 15. His remarkable rise from mini tours to the PGA in a single year will draw attention to the rookie. I imagine his game might just impress as well.” — 01/01/2014

After watching this video of some of Malnati’s time on the Web.com Tour, I was cheering for him, too. He seemed so sincere– an All-American dream chaser. Watch:

A feel good story for a genuine good guy on the Tour.

But after making only three cuts, 2014 turned out to be a miserable rookie season for Malnati (sorry, Dill). He didn’t break par often in that first year. He was relegated back to the Web.com Tour.

It was kind of what I had expected to see from a guy with no big successes to bank off of and no Tour experience, sadly.

Going from the PGA Tour and the courses they play on and being put back on the Web.com Tour has to feel like a consolation prize. I’ve never personally felt it, but the feeling of dejection has to be common. At age 27, with only one disastrous PGA Tour season under his belt, Malnati had the makeup for being a lifer on the Web.com Tour.

That is, until 2015 happened.

He won in the spring of 2015 in Brazil and locked up four other top-10s throughout the season. By the time cards were being doled out, Malnati found himself in the 5th place on the season long rankings and heading back to the PGA Tour.

Seeing his name triggered a smile to my face, to see one of the underdogs making a run on the Tour again. I would keep tabs from a distance throughout 2016, I told myself on Malnati. He’s who I would be if I made the Tour.

The start at the Sanderson Farms Championship this week was only Malnati’s third of the new season. After making a goal list on his website petermalnati.blogspot.com, it was fun to see so many of them pay dividends so early.

This looks like the types of goal plans I would make for myself.

malnati

And did he ever flourish

Malnati’s putting performance for the week was epically amazing. Seriously, check these putting stats:

To see one of the good guys win, an underdog, on the PGA Tour is always a good thing. Maybe he doesn’t have the name to bring thousands to view on the Golf Channel. But he has the heart, drive and character to make those who do, smile.

Amidst the controversy taking place on the University of Missouri campus, maybe it’s fitting a Tiger won. And with a guy as good as Malnati, he should be giving the school something to smile about.


 

After a win, he can look back on moments like these with fondness…