The task for 144 golfers this past week at the Web.com Tour Final Qualifying Tournament in Chandler, Arizona was pretty simple. They needed to shoot as low of a score as possible to provide the greatest degree of access to the 2018 Web.com Tour. Finish inside the top 45 and you guarantee some starts; any lower and a whole lot of effort for the past few months goes without significant reward.
The tournament concluded on Sunday and among the contenders were four Canadians – Ryan Yip, Albin Choi, Seann Harlingten, and Stuart MacDonald. They made the most of it.
By the time the dust settled after 72 holes each of the Canadians had stories to carry with them for a time, as well as the ability to plan the start of their 2018 season on the Web.com Tour.
In the end, the Whirlwind Golf Club gave up some low scoring as medalist Lee McCoy shot 28-under-par to earn fully exempt status on the Web.com Tour for 2018. In fact, it took a score of -14 or better to finish inside the top 45.
Within that mark was Ryan Yip. The Calgarian was the best of the Canadian contingent. He tied for 10th place on the strength of a seven birdie, no bogey final round 65 that helped him reach -18. By finishing within the 2nd-10th spots (and ties) he has access to the first 12 events on the Web.com Tour schedule for next season.
Just two strokes back of Yip in a share of 23rd were B.C.’s Stuart MacDonald and Toronto’s Albin Choi.
MacDonald showed grit on his closing stretch as he made seven birdies in his final ten holes to grab Web.com Tour status for the first time. It comes on the heels of a 2017 season where he finished 78th on the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada Order of Merit. The 23 year-old Vancouver golfer shared his joy on Twitter afterward:
— Stuart Macdonald (@stuart_mac_golf) December 10, 2017
For Choi, the result was the same but he did his heavy lifting in the middle rounds. A 66 on Friday followed by a 64 on Saturday bolstered his bid to return to the Web.com Tour. His 2017 campaign on the circuit did yield one top five finish but ultimately he finished 95th on the Money List. A fresh start is now his to try to better that in 2018.
For the second straight year Seann Harlingten of Vancouver was playing in the Final Stage of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament but this year he was determined to have a better outcome. He spent the 2017 season playing in Canada but thanks to a tie for 30th on Sunday, and rounds of 68-70-67-68) for the week, he will get at least eight early starts on the Web.com Tour in 2018, already a big improvement over the one appearance he had on that tour in 2017.
Congratulations to all who earned their way to the Web.com Tour for 2018.