DAYTON —Lorens Chan of Los Angeles fired a final round 2-under 70 to finish as low qualifier at 17-under 271 for the tournament and lead a group of 24 qualifiers who advance from stage one Web.com Tour Qualifying at Dayton Valley Golf Club.
Former Nevada Wolf Pack golfer Kaleb Gorbahn of Reno shot a 3-under 69 for an 8-under 280 total to grab second place.
Jay Hwang, Fullerton, Calif., and Ben Geyer, Arbuckle, Calif., tied for third at 7-under 281. Hwang carded a 4-under 68 in the final round and Geyer shot 1-over 73.
A trio of Californians tied for fifth at 6-under 282. Eddie Olson, Aptos, fired a second consecutive 3-under 69, Johnny Ruiz, Camarillo, had a 1-under and S.J. Park, La Habra, finished with a 1-over 73.
Chan’s 9-stroke margin as low qualifier is the largest in 24 years of PGA/Web.com Tour qualifying tournaments at Dayton Valley GC. He shot under par every round and seized control of the lead at the halfway point and never let go.
“It was nice to have a last round of stress-free golf,” said the 2016 UCLA golf team graduate who narrowly missed getting his Web.com Tour card at last year’s finals. “It is always a confidence boost to finish as medalist and I hope to ride this momentum all the way through finals this year.”
Gorbahn finished strong after an opening round 3-over 75 and gained the confidence to meet and perhaps exceed his goals in his first professional tournament and Q-school.
“I had a complete round today, no weaknesses, hit the ball well, putted well and my only two bogeys were when I ended up in tough positions,” he said. “I’m exhausted, it’s been a long week.
“But it’s a good start and gives me a lot of confidence going into second stage not only that I advanced, but that I was able to compete for medalist with a lot of good golfers who played here,” Gorbahn said. “I got the experience I needed to know how to handle this pressure and I’m ready to go light it up in second stage and hopefully all the way through finals to the Tour.”
Olson, after playing his fifth Dayton Q-school and moving on in qualifying for the second consecutive year, offered an insightful comment about the pressure of playing Q-school at the Arnold Palmer-designed Dayton Valley course.
“As much as I love Dayton Valley Golf Club, I won’t miss coming back,” said Olson who played in this year’s Barracuda Championship after winning the Monday qualifier. “It’s an intimidating, uncomfortable and difficult course under the high intensity and high pressure of Q-school.”
Olson won’t miss coming back to Dayton because he plans to ride his year of good play through the finals. “I’ve checked off one of the three boxes I need to reach my goal and I’m filled with confidence after this week,” he said.
The real nerve-wracking battle in the final round was among 14 players vying to get in under the qualifying number. Five of them made it right on the number in a tie for 20th place at 4-under 284.
Felipe Velasquez, Pompano Beach, Fla., moved up five places on the leaderboard with a final round 5-under 67 that equaled the low round of the day to finish at 1-under and qualify. With a flight to catch back to Florida, he would find out his good news online at the airport or inflight.
Jake Sarnoff, Manhattan Beach, Calif., also fired a 5-under 67 to move from 1-over and all the way up to a tie for ninth. “I seem to play my best when I’m up against the wall,” he said. “I got off to a good start at 4-under on the front and knew I could finish the round not worrying about being on the bubble.”
There always seems to be a story on the other side of the coin and this year it happened to local Reno McQueen High graduate Trent Virden. He started the day at 4-over and played valiantly making seven birdies through 17 holes. He missed a putt for par on No. 9, his 18th hole, and finished with a 4-under 68 that was one stroke shy of the qualifying number.
The 24 qualifiers were the only players in the field to finish under par and another three were at even par 288. The field had a final round scoring average of 72.94 and finished with a 72-hole average of 73.13 that is a stroke higher than the last two years.
The 24 qualifiers will advance to Second Stage Web.com Tour Qualifying at five sites in November. The Web.com Tour Qualifying finals will be played Dec. 6–9 at Whirlwind Golf Club, Devils Claw and The Cattail courses, in Chandler, Ariz.