Web.com finale brings agony, ecstasy

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – By any other name, heartbreak hurts.

Consider Andres Gonzales’ plight on Sunday at the Web.com Tour Championship. Clinging to his PGA Tour hopes, he hit his approach shot at the last hole to 18 feet. Lee Williams, playing with Gonzales, hit his approach to the 18th hole on Dye’s Valley Course to 40 feet.

The particulars are as complicated as the Tour’s new qualifying system, but the miss (Gonzales)/make (Williams) exchange cost the colorful Gonzales a return trip to the Tour.

“I couldn’t be happier for Lee, we have both struggled this year,” said Gonzales, who finished in a nine-way tie for eighth. The difference between Gonzales and Bobby Gates, the last player to earn a Tour card among the top 25 on the Finals money list, was $1,797. Or, to be blunt, Williams’ putt.

And that wasn’t even the day’s narrowest margin. John Peterson finished tied for second place – two shots behind winner Chesson Hadley, who like Peterson had already locked up his card via the regular-season money list – and finished with $230,000, the difference of $567 over Hadley for the Finals money title.

“I knew I needed a big week and someone not close to me to win. That’s the most nervous I’ve been all day,” said Peterson just as Hadley passed by and offered congratulations for taking the money crown. “He’s so mad, wow, $500.”

The money crown assures Peterson and regular-season money-list winner Michael Putnam full status on Tour next year and a start in The Players.

Not bad for a dramatically revamped qualifying system that replaced Q-School this year with four events that culminated at the Tour Championship.

Andrew Loupe, Peterson’s teammate at LSU, was even more nervous following his 69 that included a 5-footer at the last for par to secure his first trip to the Tour. Loupe, who missed the cut in the first three Finals events, tied for sixth place to finish just ahead of Gates andRicky Barnes, who both missed the cut, in earnings.

Joe Durant, who turns 50 next spring, also played his way back onto the Tour from outside the top 25 entering the week following his tie for eighth, as did Brad Fritsch who closed with a 66 to tie for second place.

“I was trying not to think about the card. I was trying to think about winning,” Fritsch said. “I didn’t have a perfect mental week, but I was close.”

Similarly, the new qualifying system didn’t have all the heartbreak and heroics of Q-School, but it was close.

Source : The Golf Channel
 

posted at 30 Sep 2013 13:18:11

 



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