Kevin Tway arrived in Napa for the Safeway Open in October with three top-10 finishes during the 2017-18 season.
He tied for fifth at the Fort Worth Invitational. He tied for sixth at the Travelers Championship. He finished tied for ninth at the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Tway also advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs during a year in which he had six top-25 finishes, with 24 cuts made in 31 starts.
“The last couple years I basically went out there just to play well, make cuts, keep my card,” Tway said after the second round of the Safeway Open at Silverado Resort and Spa. “Now I’m to the point to where I feel like my game’s good enough to win. So each week, I’m trying to go out and put myself in position to win.
“If you keep getting there, eventually you’ll probably figure it out, so just trying to get back in that position.”
Tway began the Safeway Open, a $6.4 million event that is the opening tournament of the PGA Tour’s 2018-19 schedule, with a 4-under-par 68. He shot 67 in the second round and 68 in the third round. He was in second place, three shots behind, going into the final round on the North Course.
He carded a 71 and got into a playoff after finishing tied for the lead after 72 holes of regulation play at 14-under 274.
Tway was terrific late in the day, making birdies on his final five holes, including the playoff holes. He won it, his first PGA Tour title, by making a birdie putt from 10 feet and beat Ryan Moore on the par-4, 10th hole.
It was a great day for Tway, the son of Bob Tway, an eight-time winner on Tour. Bob Tway won the PGA Championship in 1986.
“I got hot at the end,” said Kevin Tway, who was a four-time All-American at Oklahoma State. “It feels really good to win the first tournament. It’s a lot harder than you think to win. I’ve been doing this a long time and it’s been a long road, but it’s nice to finally get here.”
Tway received $1,152,000 and also 500 FedExCup points. He got an exemption to the Masters.
Playing last week in the Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, Maui, a limited field event open only to winners from 2018, he tied for 11th place, opening with the first-round lead at 66 and finishing at 12-under on the Plantation Course.
The Safeway Open, presented by Chevron, is the first event of the PGA Tour’s 2018-19 wrap-around schedule that bridges two years. The tournament is part of the FedExCup schedule.
This is the third year of the Safeway Open, which is part of the PGA Tour’s 46-tournament schedule for 2018-19 that concludes with three FedExCup Playoff events.
Tway also played in three other fall events. He tied for 27th at the CIMB Classic. He tied for 52nd at the CJ Cup@ Nine Bridges. He tied for 23rd at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
Tway is No. 5 in FedExCup season points.
$190 million in charitable impact in 2018
The PGA Tour and its tournaments generated a record $190 million for more than 3,000 charitable causes in 2018, it was announced on Saturday. The charitable total, which brings the all-time total to $2.84 billion, includes donations made by tournaments on the PGA Tour, PGA Tour Champions, Web.com Tour, Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada, PGA Tour Latinoamerica and PGA Tour Series-China, according to a press release.
The Safeway Open in Napa has not reported its contribution for the 2018 tournament.
McCarron among top 19 players to watch
Scott McCarron, a Vintage High School graduate, is one of the “top 19 players to watch heading into the 2019 season,” according to PGA Tour Champions digital and communications staff members.
McCarron is No. 5.
“The list is based on performance in 2018 and projections heading into 2019. The list includes some of the biggest names of the last couple years in addition to players that could have breakthrough seasons for one reason or another,” pgatour.com reported.
2018 was a big year on the PGA Tour Champions for McCarron, a former Napa resident.
He had two wins, 12 Top-10 finishes, and finished second in the Charles Schwab Cup standings.
He tied for third in the Charles Schwab Cup Championship at Phoenix Country Club. It was the third and final tournament of the Schwab Cup Playoffs.
He was second on the Schwab Cup money list ($2,008,618).
He was also fourth in scoring average (69.38), fourth in driving distance (295.2), fourth in the all-around ranking, sixth in birdie average, and seventh in total driving,
McCarron has eight wins on the PGA Tour Champions.
“There is no reason to think that McCarron will slow down in 2019,” pgatour.com predicted.
“If McCarron has a good year off the tee, he could easily be the favorite heading into the fall postseason as his distance and ball-striking will make him tough to beat.”
The PGA Tour Champions’ 2019 season starts this month with the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. It’s Jan. 17-19 at Hualalai Golf Course at Ka’upulehu-Kona, Hawaii.