Back in the late 1990s, Nate Angus took up golf just out of curiosity and yet became a three-time state qualifier for Willard High School.
Soon, he will be playing in the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper – alongside the Korn Ferry Tour pros – when the tournament tees off Thursday, July 20 at Highland Springs Country Club.
Angus, 42, is receiving a sponsor’s unrestricted exemption and, because he has made his home here in the Springfield area, his cheering section could be huge. In fact, he is one of two unrestricted exemptions, with two others to receive restricted exemptions, in a tournament whose purse is $1 million. And all four live within three hours of Springfield.
“I know a lot of people in the local golf community, so I really hope they come out and support not only myself but the PCCC at Highland Springs,” said Angus, a 1999 Willard High School graduate who played basketball at Drury University. “It’s a great opportunity for people to come see the future in the game of golf and experience such a pristine country club.
“I have had a lot of people come up to me over the last couple of months to say congratulations and that they can’t wait to watch and follow me around,” Angus added. “Plus, I’m excited to have some family make the trip down for the week from out of state to support.”
Angus didn’t play Junior golf but was a baseball and basketball player before taking up the sport just to test his competitive fire. He became all-conference, all-district and a three-time state qualifier for Willard.
However, it wasn’t until he after he moved back from Atlanta several years ago that golf became a larger focus. That’s when he worked with Bryan Daniels, the golf teaching professional at Silo Ridge Golf Course in Bolivar. That led to competitive tournaments within the PGA Midwest section in the Kansas City area, and Angus eventually competed in some pro tournaments.
Additionally, he met his future wife, Megan, a former Iowa high school standout who later played at Missouri State University and is a local golf teaching professional. She has been a great teacher.
“She knows what it takes to compete at a high level and the commitment level it takes to be the best,” Angus said.
Angus has focused on his short game, often spending an hour on putting, and another hour on chipping. He got a sense of the pace of play, too, when caddying for Drew Weaver in 2021.
“Being around Drew and ‘inside the ropes’ that week gave me even more insight of what it takes to be out competing on the Korn Ferry Tour,” Angus said.
Overall, he is appreciative of the exemption.
“To be able to play right here in my hometown on this stage is truly a blessing and something that I am grateful to have the opportunity to do,” Angus said.
Poplar Bluff’s Carr Vernon
A 2012 Poplar Bluff High School graduate, Vernon is back in the PCCC for a third consecutive year on an unrestricted exemption.
A year ago, he made the cut and finished tied for 11th, a remarkable showing considering a year earlier he had missed the cut by only one stroke.
And just last month Vernon finished tied for second at the PGA TOUR Canada qualifying to earn status there, and then earned a top 10 finish July 9 in Edmonton.
“I’m definitely excited to get back and play this year. I’ve been playing full time on PGA Tour Canada this summer, so it will be nice to get back to Missouri and feel like I’m playing a home event,” Vernon said. “The crowds the last couple years have been really great. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone out again this year.”
The restricted exemptions are for Korn Ferry Tour players Joseph Winslow and Chris Naegel.
Winslow, 30, is from Overland Park, Kan., and played at the University of South Florida after graduating from St. Thomas Aquinas High School. He played here in 2019.
He made the cut in the Sony Open in Hawaii in January, firing a 6-under par 274. He has played four Korn Ferry Tour event this season, and made the cut in two, including in the Wichita Open in June.
“My game has been good (this year),” said Winslow, who shot a 62 to Monday qualify into the recent Korn Ferry Tour event in Colorado. “I’ve been so close on getting into fields this season, and I’m really looking forward to this stretch of events.”
Naegel, 40, turned pro in 2008 after playing at Ole Miss and makes his home in Wildwood, a St. Louis suburb. He has played in 10 Korn Ferry Tour events this year, making the cut in two of them in February despite dealing with a shoulder issue.
A Marquette High School graduate from suburban St. Louis, Naegel has played in the PCCC four other times and has played numerous courses in the area, as his wife is a Missouri State graduate.
“I am excited and truly grateful for the opportunity to play in Springfield this year,” Naegel said. “I’ve had such an odd year with an injury at the beginning of the year. I have finally turned the corner on it and see my game coming back to form.”