CHARLESTON - One week in late February changed Alistar Presnell's life significantly; this week's Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island Club could change the young Australian's life dramatically.
A few weeks before his 30th birthday, Presnell won the Moonah Classic in Victoria, Australia. It was his fourth Nationwide Tour event, all played in either Australia or New Zealand.
He was hoping to win enough money to make a visit to the U.S. and try some Monday qualifiers. If not, he told The Associated Press, he might have to ask his old boss for his job in the air conditioning business.
Presnell finished one shot in front of fellow Aussie Peter O'Malley and three strokes ahead of Australia's Michael Sim, which earned him a battlefield promotion to the PGA Tour.
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The victory gave Presnell exempt status for the Nationwide season, and he has parlayed that into a very real possibility of playing on the PGA Tour in 2010.
This week, the Nationwide Tour's top 60 money winners are at Daniel Island, battling to finish in the top 25 on the money list and PGA Tour privileges next season.
Right now, Presnell is sitting on the hot seat. He's No. 25 with earnings of $165,933, a little more than $6,000 ahead of No. 26 Scott Gardiner. But with a $1 million purse this week, a lot of shuffling could happen.
"I feel very fortunate to be here," Presnell said Monday, shortly after arriving at Daniel Island. "A lot of guys would love to be in this position with hopefully an opportunity to make it to the main stage. So I feel fortunate to be here. If it can turn out the way I'd want, fantastic. If it doesn't, then I've given it my all and my best shot. What turns out turns out."
After turning pro, Presnell spent several years playing the Asian Tour. But that wasn't where he wanted to be, so he returned home and played in some smaller events in Australia until breaking through this year at Moonah.
Presnell has played in 23 events this season, making the cut in 13. He has five top-25 finishes.
"It's been a bit of a battle. I think the traveling side has gotten to me a bit," said Presnell.
"I came over in April, went home for three weeks in July, and I'll be heading home on Monday. I've had a two-month stint and a three-month stint."
Along the way, fellow Aussies Michael Sim, Nick Flanagan and Andrew Buckle have opened their homes to him and taken him to their home courses to practice.
He is looking forward to returning home next week, but more importantly, he's looking forward to returning to the U.S. next year.
"It depends on what events I get into next year, whether it be the main tour or the secondary tour. I'll have to look at my schedule after this week," he said. "A lot depends on this week. It's been a battle, but I've loved every minute of it."