Braves Hall of Famer Smoltz giving Q-School another crack
November 16, 2021
By Bret Lasky, PGATOUR.COM
- November 16, 2021
- John Smoltz, former Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame pitcher, is the headliner this week playing at the Buckhorn Springs site in Valrico, Florida near Tampa. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
PGA TOUR Champions Q-School First Stage starts this week. Two of the three first stage sites are set for this week, running from Tuesday to Friday. There are currently 27 players exempt into final stage, which takes place December 7-10 at TPC Tampa Bay, and the remainder of the 78-player field will come from the three first stage sites. The final first stage site is November 29-December 2 at Orange County National outside of Orlando, Florida.
John Smoltz, former Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame pitcher, is the headliner this week playing at the Buckhorn Springs site in Valrico, Florida near Tampa. This is Smoltz’s second crack at PGA TOUR Champions Q-School. He played in 2019, but did not get out of first stage. Smoltz has made his intentions of playing on PGA TOUR Champions obvious over the last three years since earning a spot in the 2018 U.S. Senior Open. He’s made eight starts through sponsor exemptions over the last two years. His best finish is T53 at the 2019 Cologuard Classic.
Another notable at Buckhorn Springs is Mario Tiziani, the brother-in-law, fill-in caddie and manager for Steve Stricker. His father, Dennis Tiziani, played on the PGA TOUR and was the longtime golf coach at the University of Wisconsin. Recently, he decided to give his playing career another chance and got sponsor exemptions into the American Family Insurance Championship and the Sanford International. He finished T11 in Sioux Falls on the strength of an opening round 65. Tiziani has a ton of experience with Q-School, attempting PGA TOUR Q-School 12 times in his career. He made it through in 2004 and played a full season on TOUR in 2005.
Three-time PGA TOUR winner Robert Gamez is also at the Buckhorn Springs site. He’s best known for holing his approach on the 72nd hole to win the 1990 Nestle Invitational.
At the Primm Valley site in Las Vegas, Nevada, one of the notables is Eddie Fernandes, who won the masters division of the World Long Drive Championship in 2018. “Fast” Eddie, as the nickname goes, got a sponsors invite into the PURE Insurance Championship earlier this season. He struggled with an 82 in his competitive round, but rebounded with a 68 in Round 2.
70-year-old Dick Mast isn’t giving up the dream as he’s signed up at Primm Valley also. Mast made some headlines on PGA TOUR Champions this year when he Monday Qualified for the DICK’S Sporting Goods Open.
Joe Summerhays, the son of three-time PGA TOUR Champions winner Bruce Summerhays, is also signed up for his first run at Q-School. Joe qualified for the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah by finishing in the top 20 PGA Professional Championship. He also played in the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol. His cousin is former Korn Ferry Tour professional, Daniel Summerhays.