In his tenth attempt at qualifying school for the PGA TOUR Champions, Canada’s Jim Rutledge had the narrowest of misses to have full status slip through his fingers.
On Friday, November 30th, the Victoria, B.C. golfer made a heroic bogey on the 72nd hole of the tournament at TPC Tampa Bay, in Lutz, Florida to earn a spot in a playoff with four other players. They were seeking the final two cards of five being awarded that day for access to the 2019 PGA TOUR Champions.
Unfortunately for 59 year-old Rutledge he would stretch the extra stanza to four holes but hit a wayward shot into the water there that resulted in Stephen Leaney securing the exempt card.
As a result of the finish Rutledge will resume his place as an associate member of the PGA TOUR Champions for a top 30 placing. That allows him to play directly in Monday Qualifiers for events, skipping the Friday pre-qualifying.
In his career Rutledge has played 115 PGA TOUR Champions events recording six top-ten finishes and earning just over (USD) $1.4 million.
The other three Canadians in the Final Qualifying event finished outside of a position that would earn them any status. David Morland IV tied for 31st (painfully making a double bogey on each of his last two holes) while Danny King ended the week in a share of 31st and Dennis Hendershott tied for 69th.
Earning their way on to the PGA TOUR Champions were Gibby Gilbert III, Skip Kendall, Cliff Kresge, Greg Kraft, and Stephen Leaney.
Gilbert made a 70-foot putt on the final hole of the final round to secure his PGA TOUR Champions card for the 2019 season as the Q-School medalist.
“I bogeyed the first hole and was 1-over through six but was able to start making some good putts and good shots,” said Gilbert. “I was just trying to get the putt close to the hole as I could. I have never made a putt before in my career that carried that much weight. It was the best putt of my life.”