Byrum wins medalist honors at Q-School Finals
Top five finishers earn fully-exempt status in 2018 on PGA TOUR Champions
December 01, 2017
By Dave Senko, PGATOUR.COM
- Tom Byrum won a playoff against Tommy Tolles to earn medalist honors at TPC Scottsdale. (Ryan Young/PGA TOUR)
Editor's note:The top five finishers earn fully-exempt status through the 2018 season. Others finishing in the top 30 and ties are eligible to compete in open qualifiers at all co-sponsored events on PGA TOUR Champions in 2018.
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – Tom Byrum (San Antonio, Texas) eagled the first playoff hole to defeat Tommy Tolles (Hendersonville, North Carolina) to claim medalist honors at the 2017 PGA TOUR Champions National Qualifying Tournament at TPC Scottsdale (Champions Course). Byrum and Tolles were tied after the 72-hole event at 19-under-par 265 forcing the playoff. Byrum ended the playoff on the first extra hole, sinking a 7-foot putt for eagle and the win.
Q-SCHOOL FINALS: Click here for LEADERBOARD
Byrum and Tolles were joined in the top five by Kent Jones (Albuquerque, New Mexico), Tim Petrovic (Austin, Texas) and amateur Ken Tanigawa (Scottsdale, Arizona). The five players will enjoy fully-exempt through the 2018 season.
As expected, it was another see-saw affair with numerous changes throughout the round.
One day after tying the tournament record with a 10-under 61, Byrum backed up that effort with a 5-under 65 which included a critical eagle on No. 17 which gave him a share of the lead.
“I hit it about the same as I did yesterday and missed a couple more putts today, but I still played solid all day and didn’t make a mistake until the end. The good thing was I always came back after I made a mistake which was nice.” Byrum said. “My eagle at No. 17 was huge. I didn’t make a very good swing at No. 16 and ended up missing the putt and making a bogey. The eagle gave me a little bit of a comfort zone and I played it safe on the last hole.”
Byrum has enjoyed success in this event in the past at the TPC Scottsdale’s Champions Course. Two years ago, he finished tied for second when the event was played here. Now he’ll enjoy fully-exempt status after finishing 52nd on the 2017 money list.
Tolles will also enjoy exempt status in 2018 after finishing with a 5-under 66, his fourth consecutive round in the 60s. A veteran of the PGA TOUR from 1995-2004, he played bogey-free on his back nine, shooting a 4-under-par 32.
“Q-School is a grind and not a lot of fun,” said Tolles, who was making his first appearance here. “It’s difficult because you don’t know what’s going in behind you or in front of you. Tom (Byrum) and I were in kind of a match-play event. We had no idea if we were competing for first place or fifth. There’s a lot of stress the last day but I played well all week I’m looking forward to next year. Doing those Monday qualifiers this year was even less fun than this week.”
Kent Jones, another PGA TOUR veteran, used an impressive back nine to claim third place overall. His back nine included an eagle on No. 18 and four additional birdies for a 6-under-par 30.
“I didn’t play well on the front nine and nothing was really happening and then I get to No. 10 and didn’t hit a very good drive and I got down a bit,” Jones recalled. “I hit a hybrid on my second shot and it kind of tumbled up on the green and I made it for an eagle and that just kind of jump started things and I played well from that point on.”
Petrovic and Tanigawa will round out the five exempt players for 2018. Petrovic, who started the day two strokes better than the field, had an up and down round and was able to overcome five bogeys during the day to finish at 17-under.
Tanigawa was locked in a tie for one of the final exempt spots going to the final hole with Brian Henninger (Wilsonville, Oregon), but Henninger’s chances ended when his tee shot found water which led to a bogey, his third on the back nine.
Tanigawa will maintain his amateur status until the start of the 2018 season. A UCLA product, he’ll join several former Bruins on the 2018 PGA TOUR Champions, including Brandt Jobe, Scott McCarron, Corey Pavin, Duffy Waldorf and Tom Pernice Jr.
He played professionally for 11 years in Australia, Asia and Japan and did a stint on the Web.com Tour in 2003 before returning to the amateur ranks where has won numerous titles in his home state of Arizona. He has also competed in the USGA’s Mid-Amateur event in 2013 and 2014.
Q-School Notes: Peter Lonard (Sydney, Australia) aced No. 3 with an 8-iron from 161 yards. His hole-in-one came just one hole after he had posted a nine on the par-4 second hole at TPC Scottsdale … Jeff LeMaster (Las Vegas, Nevada) withdrew during his final round with a shoulder injury … Miguel Angel Martin (Madrid, Spain) birdied 12 of the 16 par-5s hole on the TPC Scottsdale course during the event … Tommy Tolles (Hendersonville, North Carolina) led all players with 27 birdies … The easiest hole was No. 10, yielding 11 eagles and 161 birdies, while No. 18 was the most difficult. There were just 29 birdies, including nine on Friday … Overall, the field averaged 69.938 for the event. When it was staged here in 2015, the average was 69.675.