Orlando played host to this weekend’s biggest golf event, and no, it didn’t include Little John Daly. The pressure-packed Web.com Tour Q-School drew to a close after 3 months of pre-qualifying, with 52 players earning guaranteed starts on the 2017 Web.com Tour.
After 72 holes at Orange County National, Jim Renner took home medalist honors, earning full-status (a guaranteed start in every event of the 2017 season) and $50k. Starting off Sunday 3 shots back of co-leaders Puma Dominguez and Dan Woltman, Renner wasted no time making his move, birdieing 4 of his first 5 holes to join the duo at the top of the leaderboard. As the day progressed, Woltman and Dominguez faded while Vince India and Taylor Moore surged. India pulled within 1 shot of Renner on the back nine, but a Renner eagle on 14 and an India bogey on 15 opened up a 4-shot lead, allowing big Jimbo to cruise to the title after an incredible final-round 63. With birdies on 4 of his last 5 holes for a final-round 65, Taylor Moore snuck into 2nd place. India managed to close with a birdie to finish in solo third place after a stellar final-round 66.
The rest of the pack
Beyond the leaders, it was all about finishing within the top 10 or the top 45 to assure guaranteed starts in the 2017 season. A top-10 finish nets a spot in the first 12 events of the season, while a top 45 finish gets a start in at least the first 8 tournaments. Let’s look at a few people that played their way in and a few who went the wrong way.
Derek Ernst - The former PGA Tour winner came up huge, firing a 5-under 31 on Sunday’s back nine to move into a tie for 8th and guarantee himself a spot in the first 12 events.
Andrew Landry - Yes, the same guy that contended at this year’s U.S. Open found himself outside the number late on Sunday. With a combination of some good fortune and skill, Landry chipped in twice in the final 4 holes to make the top 45 and ties on the number.
Samuel Del Val - Things were looking good for the Spaniard after 2 eagles on Sunday’s back nine moved him well within the cut line with just 5 holes remaining. But unfortunately, after bogeying 3 of the final 5 holes, he missed out by 1 shot… ouch.
Casey Wittenberg - The former phenom found himself back at Q-School after finishing the 2016 Web.com Tour season in 76th place, a mere $200 out of 75th and full status for 2017. This weekend, Wittenberg fell 1 shot short of the top 45, earning only conditional status for the 2017 season.
Dem’ Georgia boys
While the Web.com Tour hopefuls were grinding away, some of the PGA Tour’s best were in Naples for the laid-back FT Shootout. The 3-day team event wrapped up on Saturday with Matt Kuchar and Harris English taking home the title for the 2nd time in the past 4 years. Kuch and English used English’s birdie on Saturday’s 17th hole to pull ahead of the Wisconsin duo of Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker and win by 1 shot.
First loser again
2016 has been quite the year for Spain’s Rafa Cabrera-Bello, but he is still looking for his first win since 2012. After opening rounds of 64-65 at the Hong Kong Open, it looked like RCB would finally end the drought. Unfortunately, he stalled out on the weekend, firing rounds of 70-69 and allowing little-known Sam Brazel to slip in and steal the tournament by just 1 shot. While Brazel’s play should be commended, RCB’s trend of not sealing the deal is becoming a real thing. The runner-up finish was the Spaniard’s 3rd of 2016.
The final event of the weekend was the annual PNC Father-Son Challenge, where PGA Tour icons of the past tee it up with their children to see whose bloodline runs the strongest. This year, David Duval and his stepson Nick Karovites took home the crown, besting the father-son combo of Fred Funk and Texas star Taylor Funk.
While the Duval family took home the hardware, the star of the show was 13-year-old Little John Daly, who seems to possess the same fashion sense and golf talent as his major champion father. Little John wowed spectators and television viewers with his sweet swing, see it for yourself.
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