By: NNPA Newswire
Varun Chopra won the APGA Mastercard Tour Championship with a second-round 5-under-par 67, including birdies on three of his first four holes to finish the tournament with a two-stroke victory at 12-under over Chase Johnson for his first-ever professional victory.
Chopra fired a bogey-free back nine to seal the win. The win pays Chopra $55,000, matching the largest winner’s share in APGA Tour history and the largest check of Chopra’s golf career.
Chopra played collegiately first Illinois in 2018 and transferred to Northwestern in 2021 where he was named to multiple all-academic Big-10 teams. This year, Chopra has focused on Monday Qualifying and has made two Korn Ferry Tour starts in 2023.
“This is an incredible moment for me as a player. All of the work that goes into playing this game, it’s extremely gratifying to win against this group of players on a course like TPC Sugarloaf,” said the 24-year-old from Champagne, Illinois.
[SCROLL BREAK!!! Bayou Beat News can also be found in PRINT at a store near you. Click the link below to check out our E-Edition!]
“Companies like Mastercard who are supporting the APGA Tour and these players are making a huge impact on all of us. This payout is life changing for me and will help me continue to chase my dreams playing golf for a living.”
Johnson, who won the most recent APGA Tour event at the APGA Ascension Classic presented by Daugherty Business Solutions, also won the John Shippen Invitational earlier in the year to gain an exemption in the PGA TOUR’s Rocket Mortgage Classic where he made the cut and finished T64.
J.P. Thornton earned $10,000 for finishing in third place at 9-under-par. Thornton took up golf at an inner-city program in Memphis with the Mid-South Junior Golf Association (now called The First Tee of Memphis).
Thornton won his first APGA Tour event with TPC Sugarloaf in Atlanta in 2020.
Additionally, with a 7th-place performance, Marcus Byrd finishes at No. 1 in the season-long Lexus Cup Standings earning the $20,000 Lexus Cup bonus.
By winning the Lexus Cup, Byrd also takes home the 2023 APGA Mastercard Player Achievement Award winner which includes status on 2024 PGA TOUR Americas and an additional $50,000 bonus from Mastercard to cover travel costs for next season.
“This season is a culmination of hard work and a lot of incredible support from my fellow players on the APGA Tour, my mom and my family and the support of my sponsors at ADP, Invited Clubs, Isco, Stout and Callaway, I have been able to make huge strides over the last few years,” Byrd said.
“It’s incredible to have the support of the PGA TOUR and Mastercard both financially and to earn status on PGA TOUR Americas next year. That’s our collective dream here on the APGA Tour, and I can’t wait to take on the challenge and then watch the other players on this Tour join me as we continue to make strides in professional golf.”
The two prizes cap a record-setting season for Byrd with four APGA Tour victories in 2023.
Byrd’s victories came at the following tournaments:
• APGA Farmers Insurance Invitational at Torrey Pines
• APGA Florida – Won by 11-strokes in a 36-hole event
• APGA at Deere Run
• APGA Valhalla
Dating back to 2022, Byrd has six victories, and five runner-up finishes in his last 15 starts on the APGA Tour.
Byrd recorded scores in the 60s in all of his Lexus Cup tournament rounds during the 2023 season.
The APGA Mastercard Tour Championship wraps up the Lexus Cup season with Byrd winning four times, Kevin Hall winning twice and finishing at No. 2 in the Lexus Cup standings and additional victories by Wyatt Worthington, Chase Johnson, Quinn Riley, Christian Heavens and Kamaiu Johnson.