Hutchison low qualifier at Dayton |

Hutchison low qualifier at Dayton

Larry Windsor
For the Appeal

DAYTON — Randall Hutchison, Orlando, Fla., eagled the 18th and final hole for a 2-under par 70 and 19-under 269 total to lead 26 qualifiers who advanced from Tour Q-School at Dayton Valley Golf Club. Ben Geyer, Arbuckle, Calif., shot a 5-under 67 that equaled the low round of the day to finish second at 17-under 271.

Second round co-leader Nick Delio, Valencia, Calif., carded an even par 72 and finished third another two shots back at 15-under 273. Chris Evans, Palm Desert, Calif., and Matt Marshall, Carlton, Ore., both shot 4-under 68 to finish tied for fourth at 13-under 275.

“I got off to a quick start like I wanted to on the first eight holes and then I took a little nap through the middle of the round and I might have put it on cruise control a little early,” Hutchison said. “The eagle on 18 was a good way to finish and keep momentum going forward to the next stage.”

Hutchison tied the course record with a 10-under 62 in the third round to be in position to play a conservative final round but wanted to finish strong with a low total.

“I didn’t play as well today as I probably could have but it’s always good to get a win and beat everyone else in the field,” he said. “It will help build my confidence going into the next stage.”

Cruise control was the mode of the day for most of the players atop the leaderboard who knew they just had to avoid a really bad round to achieve the primary goal of getting to the next stage.

“I almost fell asleep out there, boy I hope second stage is that easy,” said Delio who shot even par after a hot start the first three rounds. “Ho hum 72, two birds, two bogeys and there was a lot of lag putting out there today.”

Jake Knapp, Costa Mesa, Calif., who tied Geyer for the low round of the day at 5-under 67, finished in a tie for seventh with Nick Killpack, St. George, Utah, and Chris Williams, Moscow, Idaho at 11-under 277.

“I played well this week and I’m very happy with my strong finish,” said Knapp who played as an amateur and will only have to make a decision to turn pro if he makes it to the Q-school finals and finishes high enough to earn a Tour card.

His reward for a great week of pressure golf is to rush back to class at UCLA for mid-term exams. The senior will have a couple of collegiate invitationals to play for the Bruins to prepare for the second stage.

At the other end of the spectrum 41-year Chris Kamin, Phoenix, Ariz., finished tied for 15th at 7-under 281 after a final round 70 to advance to the second stage. In his record-tying 13th time at Dayton Q-schools this is the ninth time he has moved on.

“It’s always good to have it over and get through but it was fun and I had a good time,” said the veteran who has taken two years off from competitive professional golf to start a business and attend to family. “At this stage now I have a whole different perspective to realize how lucky everybody out here is to be doing this.

“If I get my card back and get another season in the sun I will definitely approach it differently,” he said. “When I played professionally full-time golf ups and downs were a matter of life and death, but it’s not — those things happen in the real world as I’ve learned the last two years.”

Gunnar Wiebe, Aurora, Colo., shot a 3-under 69 to tie Kamin at 7-under. He was the first to be assured he had qualified for the next stage.

“That’s cool, that’s good news,” said a seemingly surprised Wiebe. “Having done this five or six times I keep my head up, eyes forward and don’t look at the cutline. It works way better for me.”

After consecutive bogeys on holes 15 and 16, Wiebe thought at the time he may be in danger of missing the number.

“I had a 35-footer with 15 feet of break for birdie and it went right in the heart, “ he said. “It sure made 18 play a lot easier.”

Canadian Eric Hawerchuk, Geoff Gonzalez, Diablo, Calif., Carl Jonson, Bainbridge Island, Wash.,and Bryan Martin, Thousand Oaks, Calif., tied for 23rd for the last qualifying position at 4-under 284. They had a surprise in store when they learned they made the cut. All four left the scorers table and golf club disgruntled thinking they had missed the cut when it was at 5-under.

The 26 qualifiers will play at one of five Second Stage sites in November. If they play well enough then, they advance to the Tour Q-School finals Dec. 10–15 at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. to be televised on the Golf Channel.