Jacksonville, Florida’s Sean Dale shot a 3-under 69 on Friday at PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker Course in Port St. Lucie, Florida, then prevailed in a playoff over Naples, Florida’s Edward Figueroa to earn medalist honours at the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada’s USA East #2 Q-School.
The 27-year old University of North Florida graduate birdied two of his final three holes and both holes of sudden death to secure the win and exempt status on the Mackenzie Tour for 2017, completing a long journey back after undergoing surgery for a torn labrum last year and missing most of the season.
“Coming into this, I didn’t really have many expectations, but the game just kind of fell right back into where I was last year, and it feels great,” said Dale, who held Mackenzie Tour status last year but had to be shut down after the first two events of the season.
After opting for surgery on his shoulder, Dale went through more than seven months of rehab, gradually working his way back to where he could practice and eventually play.
“This is the first tournament back,” said Dale. “It was a lot of rehab and a lot of work to get here, so it just feels good to be back competing. I enjoyed the first two events season in Vancouver and Victoria, so I’m excited to see a little bit more of Canada this time.”
Figueroa, who led after each of the first three rounds, carded a 1-over 73 for a second straight day but earned Mackenzie Tour status for the third consecutive year.
After 72 holes this week, every player inside the top 40 and ties earned Mackenzie Tour status for 2017. Below is a breakdown of the cut-offs for status:
1st (Exempt for 2017 season): -9/T1*
* = (Sean Dale defeated Edward Figueroa in a playoff)
5th (Exempt for first 8 events, subject to 2nd reshuffle): -14/T3*
* = (Jay Woodson defeated Ryan Linton, Charlie Harrison, Mason Jacobs and Blake Palmer in a playoff)
16th (Exempt for first 4 events, subject to 1st reshuffle): E/T12
40th (Conditional status): +7/T40
Three Canadians earn conditional status at the Q-School. They included Chris Hemmerich (T21), Jamie Sadlowski (T30), and Brett Cairns (T30).
Hemmerich was not even sure he would play the final round after cutting his right hand deeply the night before. He did manage to get the round in and was happy to earn his way back to the TOUR.
“I was ecstatic. I called my Dad 10 minutes before the tee time and I told him, ‘I’m not playing.’ He said to play a hole, and if I made a 10 I could walk off. It was nice to be able to get out there and be able to finish. Honestly, I knew going in I wasn’t going to hit it well. I tried to just leave it in spots where I could two-putt or get it up-and-down, and I did that well all day.”