Sigel Emerges from Monday Qualifier, Claims Spot in Mexico Open at Vidanta

February 20, 2024 | 3 min.
By Michael R Fermoyle

Normally, the Monday qualifiers for PGA Tour events are played the same week as the tournament. But the schedule for this week's Mexico Open at Vidanta has been a little different. The tour wanted to give qualifiers more time to make arrangements for getting to Vallarta, Mexico; so the Monday qualifier was last week. 

There were 82 players at Black Hawk Country Club in Richmond, Texas, trying for four available spots.

Preston Stanley, a 31-year-old alumnus of Houston Christian University (not Houston Baptist, which was listed in the official results), was on the wrong side of the qualifying number (minus 2) with three holes to go. But he went from 1 under to 4 under by making an eagle at the 508-yard, par-5 16th hole and a birdie at the 464-yard, par-4 18th. That made him the medalist -- by two shots -- with a 68. 

There was a four-way tie for second at 70, which meant a four-man playoff for the three remaining spots, and that was how Ben Sigel, the 2016 Minnesota state high school champion from Minnetonka, got into the field at Vidanta. Sigel was 3 under -- and two ahead of Stanley -- when he got to the 16th tee, but the 25-year-old former University of Kansas star bogeyed the par 5, and he bogeyed the 18th, as well.

Sigel had some status on the PGA Tour LatinoAmerica Tour last year and played in seven tournaments, making  four cuts and earning $3,455. He got through the First Stage of PGA Tour/Korn Ferry Q-School in the fall, but didn't get through the Second Stage.

The other two players to survive the playoff were Matt Atkins and Stuart Macdonald. Clay Feagler was the unlucky loser.   

On Thursday, Sigel will begin his first round at 8:58 a.m. from the first tee, along with Victor Perez and Alexander Bjork. 

Two other players with Minnesota connections are in the field. Troy Merritt, who played high school golf for Spring Lake Park, will start on the 10th hole at 8:36, playing with Tyler Duncan and Thorbjorn Olesen, and Erik Van Rooyen, the former Gopher All-American -- and two-time winner on the PGA Tour -- from South Africa, tees off on No. 1 at 12:48, paired with Emiliano Grillo and K.H. Lee.  

Monday Qualifier for Mexico Open at Vidanta

Feb. 12

At Black Hawk Country Club

Par 72, 7,111 yards

Richmond, Texas

Final results (4 players qualify)

1. Preston Stanley, North Richland, Texas              68

T2. Ben Sigel, Minnetonka                                  70

T2. Stuart McDonald, Vancouver, BC, Canada       70

T2. Matt Atkins, Owensboro, Ky.                             70

Failed to qualify 

5. Clay Feagler, The Woodlands, Texas                  70 (lost a 4-for-3 playoff))

T6. Turk Pettit, Sugar Grove, Texas                        71

T6. Cody Gribble, Dallas                                          71

T6. Kelly Kraft, Dallas                                               71

T6. Callum McNeill, Spring, Texas                            71

T6. Ryan Hall, Knoxville, Tenn.                                 71

T6. James Ross, Spring, Texas                                 71

T6. Christian Muscarello, Tucson, Ariz.                     71

T6. Connor Howe, North Ogden, Utah                      71

Michael R Fermoyle

Mike Fermoyle’s amateur golf career features state titles in five different decades, beginning with the State Public Links (1969), three State Amateurs (1970, 1973 and 1980), and four State Four-Ball championships (1972, 1985, 1993 and 2001). Fermoyle was medalist at the Pine to Palm in 1971, won the Resorters in 1972, made the cut at the State Amateur 18 consecutive years (1969 to 1986), the last being 2000, and amassed 13 top-ten finishes. Fermoyle also made it to the semi-final matches at the MGA’s annual match play championship, the Players’, in 1982 and 1987.

Fermoyle enjoyed a career as a sportswriter at the St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch before retiring in 2006. Two years later he began a second career covering the golf beat exclusively for the MGA and its website,, where he ranks individual prep golfers and teams, provides coverage on local amateur and professional tournaments and keeps tabs on how Minnesotans are faring on the various professional tours.

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