24 advance from Web.com qualifier
Special to the Appeal
DAYTON — Eric Onesi of Bear, Del., fired a final round 5-under 67 to finish as low qualifier at 21-under for the tournament and lead a group of 24 qualifiers who advanced on Friday from Stage One Web.com Tour Qualifying at Dayton Valley Golf Club.
Onesi edged playing partner Jake Knapp from Costa Mesa, Calif., by one-shot for low medalist. Knapp shot a final round 4-under 68 for a 20-under total. Onesi and Knapp were the only players in the field to score in the 60s all four rounds.
Amateur Tyler Collier from Chico, Calif., carded a final round 7-under 65 to finish in third at 15-under 273. Lorens Chan from Honolulu finished with a 3-under 69 to finish fourth at 14-under and Australian Cameron Davis rounded out the top five with a final round 2-under 70 and 11-under 277 total.
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.
Former Nevada Wolf Pack golfer Kevin Lucas from Folsom, Calif., was in the thick of the tussle starting the day right on the third round qualifying number of 2-under.
Lucas played a sensational final round from tee to green, hitting all 18 greens in regulation and 11 of 12 fairways. The only snag was his normally sure putting stroke couldn’t get the ball in the hole.
“I had seven looks inside 12 feet on the front nine alone and kept hitting edges,” lamented Lucas. “It could have been a real low round if some putts go in.”
Lucas was in the fifth group to finish their rounds and had to endure a 45-minute wait until he knew for sure he had qualified. “It was a tremendous relief to know that I had achieved my goal for the week,” he sighed. “I left a lot of shots out there but I played the way I set out to today with a clean, bogey-free round and that got me in to the next stage.”
Amateur Hugo Bernard from Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada was two shots off the number at even par going into the final round and knew he needed to finish strong to qualify. All the French Canadian did was fire the low round of the tournament with a 9-under 63 to jump up 23 places to finish in a tie for seventh place.
“It was a great round, I played great and stayed pretty relaxed all day except when I made bogey on No. 9,” Bernard said. “For some reason, it has always been my strength to play good when it is time to play good.”
Bernard said he knew the Dayton course record is 62 and standing on the 18th tee he thought he would go for eagle if he had a chance. But his 2-iron tee shot on the 560-yard par 5 went into the left rough so he decided the smart decision was a no go and finished with a birdie 4 for 63.
Chris Killmer from Bellingham, Wash., has made it to the Web.com Tour Q-school Finals the past two years, but he almost didn’t get through First Stage this time. The 30-year old former Washington Huskies golfer canned a 10-foot putt for birdie on No. 18 to get in right on the number.
“I got off to a great start with birdies on four of the first six holes and then made a dumb double bogey on No. 7, but then I regrouped and refocused,” Killmer said. “It’s nice to set a goal and achieve it but I could have made it a lot easier on myself.”
Local Jordan Wright from Incline Village, bounced back from poor second and third rounds to finish his first Web.com Tour Qualifying tournament with an even par 72 and 72-hole total of 15-over 303 in a tie for 63rd.
The Dayton Valley Golf Club was also one of the winners on the week as players praised the conditions and Web.com Tour Tournament Official Rob Keller also gave the facility high marks.
“It was a really good week, the golf course and staff were wonderful and the playing surfaces were fantastic,” Keller said. “Even though it’s not my final decision, I would think we will be back for a 24th consecutive year in 2018, absolutely.”
Thirty-two players in the field finished under par and another three were at even par 288.
The field had an overall final round under par scoring average of 71.06 and finished with a 72-hole average just barely above par at 72.11.
The 24 qualifiers will advance to Second Stage Web.com Tour Qualifying at five sites in November. Players advancing to the Second Stage will play to make the Web.com Qualifying School Final where they will vie for a spot on the 2018 Web.com Tour.
For complete results and individual player scorecards visit the web link: https://pgatq.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/pgatq17/event/pgatq179/contest/1/leaderboard.htm.