Gibby Gilbert III wins medalist honors at Q-School Finals
November 30, 2018
By Jackie Servais, PGA TOUR Communications
- November 30, 2018
- This was Gilbert’s fourth time at PGA TOUR Champions Q-School, but first time earning fully-exempt status. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
LUTZ, Florida – Gibby Gilbert III (Hixson, Tennessee) secured his fully-exempt status for the 2019 season after finishing at 4-under 280 to earn medalist honors Friday at PGA TOUR Champions Q-School. Skip Kendall (Windermere, Florida) and Cliff Kresge (Kingsport, Tennessee) finished runner-up, one stroke behind Gilbert. Greg Kraft (Belleair, Florida) and Stephen Leaney (Perth, Australia) survived a four-man, sudden-death playoff to earn the final two fully-exempt statuses available through the 72-hole Q-School at TPC Tampa Bay.
Gilbert made a 70-foot putt on the final hole of the final round to secure his PGA TOUR Champions card for the 2019 season. His 6-under 65 on Friday was the result of eight birdies and a 5-under 31 on the back nine.
“I bogeyed the first hole and was 1-over through six but was able to start making some good putts and good shots,” said Gilbert. “I was just trying to get the putt close to the hole as I could. I have never made a putt before in my career that carried that much weight. It was the best putt of my life.”
This was Gilbert’s fourth time at PGA TOUR Champions Q-School, but first time earning fully-exempt status. In the past he earned associate membership, which gives player access to event qualifying while bypassing pre-qualifying. Gilbert competed in six PGA TOUR Champions events this year and his highest finish was T24 at The Ally Challenge.
Both Kendall and Kresge were able to par on the final hole on Friday to avoid the four-man playoff. In his first appearance at PGA TOUR Champions Q-School, Kresge carded rounds of 71-68-72-70 for a 3-under 281 final to earn his fully-exempt status for the 2019 season. Kresge sat atop the leaderboard headed into the final day but knew that the final 18 holes would determine the next year of his life on Tour.
“Today was a grind. I had some amazing up-and-downs to make pars. The course played tough and the pressure was a lot, so I am proud of myself for being able to pull off the shots that mattered under pressure,” said Kresge. “I am having a little disbelief that this is true, but I am really looking forward to next season and looking forward to my opportunities.”
In contrast to Kresge’s four consistent rounds at TPC Tampa Bay, Kendall carded rounds of 70-78-64-69, but he still finished T2 at 3-under 281 and earned his exemption into next year’s events.
“This week was honestly a little bit like how my career has been, very up and down,” said Kendall. “I am speechless right now. This emotion is hard for me to describe. I have been going at this for a long time and to be back out there full-time when I didn’t know if I was going to at my age is pretty special for me.”
This is the second time Kendall earned his card through Q-School, as his T4 finish in 2016 led to 17 starts during the 2017 season. This past year, he played six PGA TOUR Champions events, competing alongside his brother-in-law and fellow PGA TOUR Champions player Steve Flesch, who claimed his first victory on Tour this year at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship.
The final two spots were decided by a four-man playoff between Craig Bowden, Stephen Leaney, Greg Kraft and Jim Rutledge. Bowden found the water and a bogey on the first playoff hole, and the remining three carded pars to advance. Kraft parred the third playoff hole to secure his status for the 2019 season, while Leaney and Rutledge went onto a fourth playoff hole. Rutledge hit his second shot into the water, while Leaney found the green and two-putt for par to claim status for the 2019 season.
Players finishing sixth through 30th (and ties) are eligible to compete in open qualifiers at all co-sponsored events on PGA TOUR Champions in 2019. This group includes Omar Uresti (T10), Ken Duke (T10), Tommy Tolles (T13) and Robert Gamez (T27). For more information and complete results, visit www.pgatour.com/champions.