Casey Martin falls one shot short of regaining PGA Tour card
LA QUINTA, Calif. – Stephen Allan of Australia closed with a 4-under 68, his sixth consecutive round in the 60s, to win the Qualifying Tournament on Monday and earn full-exempt status on the PGA Tour next year.
Allan completed six pressure-packed rounds at La Quinta in 32-under 400 and was among 36 players – the lowest number since 1981 – to earn their tour cards.
”The first four days from tee to green I don’t think I’ve ever played better,” Allan said. ”The last couple of rounds I played well but I didn’t make as many putts, and I might not have hit the ball as close.”
Casey Martin was not among them. He holed a 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole on the Jack Nicklaus Tournament course to finish at 14-under 418, but came up one stroke short of finishing among the top 35 and ties.
Martin’s successful lawsuit against the tour, which enables him to ride in a cart, will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court next month.
David Morland IV of Canada and Brian Wilson finished two strokes behind Allan. Allan not only earned $50,000 for his victory, he can play in any tournament he chooses next year except for certain limited-field events.
The next 35 will be ranked in order behind those who finished in the top 125 on the money list and other criteria. Among them are former PGA winners Keith Clearwater, Fred Wadsworth and Per-Ulrik Johansson, a five-time winner in Europe.
As usual, there were some horror stories. Tim O’Neal was in perfect position to join Tiger Woods as the only blacks on the PGA Tour, at 17 under with two holes to play. He bogeyed his 17th hole and still could have qualified with a bogey on the final hole.
But he hit his tee shot into a hazard, took a drop and hit a fairway wood in the bunker. He blasted out through the green and had to hole the chip to get his card. He didn’t, then missed the putt coming back for a triple bogey.
Also missing out by one shot was Joe Daley. That stroke can be traced back to Saturday when, after hitting into the water on No. 17, he had a 2-foot putt for double bogey. The ball went in, bounced off the bottom of the cup and right back out.
Ken Green, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, bogeyed his last hole and missed by one shot, as did Brian Watts. The British Open runner-up in 1998, Watts needed to birdie the last two holes. His 50-footer on the 17th turned away at the last inch, and he birdied the final hole.
They were among 51 players who earned cards on the Buy.com Tour for next year. Joining them was David Gossett, who had a 59 on Saturday but closed with rounds of 74-71.
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