24 advance from Dayton qualifying
For the Appeal
DAYTON — David Vanegas of Medellin, Colombia shot a final round 3-under par 69 for a 21-under 267 total to head the list of 24 players who advanced from the Stage One Web.com Tour Qualifier at Dayton Valley Golf Club.
Malaysian Gavin Green carded a 4-under 68 that equaled the low round of the day with seven other players to finish second low medalist at 18-under 270. Trevor Simsby of Carlsbad, Calif., finished in third at 16-under par 272 following a 3-under 69.
Geoff Gonzalez of Diablo, Calif., and Damian Telles of The Dalles, Ore., tied for fourth at 14-under 274 for 72-holes. Gonzalez shot 68 and Telles came in at 73.
Michael McGowan, Southern Pines, N. C., Gunnar Wiebe, San Diego, Calif., and Sunny Kim of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., tied for sixth at 13-under 275. McGowan and Wiebe carded 68 and Kim shot 69.
Windy conditions, with gusts more than 30 miles per hour, made the final round a nerve-wracking survival test for most of the field. Most players tried to take advantage of relatively calm early conditions and then hang on to the steering wheel to finish.
“It played really tough,” explained Vanegas who scored in the 60s for all four rounds.
Vanegas played in the Dayton q-school last year for the first time and tied for 10th at 10-under par to advance. “I had not been putting very well coming into this week so I put a new putter in my bag,” he said. “I played well all week but I really putted well so that putter is staying in there (the bag) for Second Stage.”
Green finished in the group ahead of Vanegas and was surprised to learn he was the leader in the clubhouse at that point. “Really, man, poof, it was a grind today,” he sighed. “I just kept the ball in play and didn’t take any huge risks. I mean like No. 18 was really playing down wind and I probably could have hit driver and gap wedge (to get on the par 5 in two) but I played safe and still made birdie.”
Jake Knapp of Costa Mesa, Calif., advanced from Dayton last year finishing tied for seventh at 11-under when he played as an amateur in his senior year at UCLA. He has since turned professional and needed a good final round to move up to qualify this year. He shot a 3-under 69 to finish at 6-under par 282 to claim 24th place and the final qualifying position.
“This is the windiest I’ve seen it here, I thought if I shot 5-under I’d be totally OK (to qualify),” he said as he finished well before the final qualifying number was established. “I did all I could, I only hit two bad shots all day which I thought was great in this wind.”
Knapp also birdied his final hole, the difficult par 4 No. 9, to qualify.
Nick Mason of Denver, Colo., was at 6-under and right on the qualifying number when he started the final round. As he signed his scorecard for a 4-under 68 he looked up and said, “Big sigh of relief I got that done.” He finished in a tie for 12th at 10-under to advance.
“I got to 5-under on the front and just had to keep it all in front of me,” he explained. “I knew I was in good shape at that point but it wasn’t easy keeping it there in these conditions and I’m glad it’s over.”
Survival was the name of the game for the two Australians in the field.
Bryden Macpherson, who shot a 9-under 63 in the third round, soared 14-strokes higher carding a final round 77 to qualify in 15th place at 9-under 279.
“That was brutal,” said the former Georgia Bulldog who now resides in Jupiter, Fla. “That’s the only way I can describe it.”
Amateur Cameron Davis of Sydney, Australia got a taste of final round pressure in his first professional qualifier.
“I got off to a horrendous start playing the first two holes 4-over,” he explained. “So I had to battle all day to just get it back. I’m pretty happy I was able to finish with a 73.”
Davis finished in a tie for 12th at 10-under. He had a positive approach to handle the final round and windy conditions.
“I looked at it just like any other round, to just play as well as I can and have a good time,” he said. “You don’t want to put any extra pressure on yourself because it was difficult enough out there today.”
Despite the tough final round conditions, 47 players in the final 69-player field were under par. The field played the final round to an average score of 72.70 that brought the four round average up to 71.33.