Ross Fisher’s decision to skip the season-ending Dubai World Championship paid dividends yesterday when he joined a crop of 26 players earning PGA Tour cards in the US for 2013.
The 32-year-old, who has won four times on the European Tour and played in the victorious 2010 European Ryder Cup side, finished just one shot behind Q-School winner Dong-hwan Lee of South Korea in the six-day marathon at PGA West.
“This game can go high and it can go low,” said the Englishman. “Last year for me was not great. This year has been a work in progress.
“But it was the last year of Q-School and it was nice to create a bit of history to be one of the guys at the last one. It sets me up well for next year.”
Giant Swede Robert Karlsson also made the cut with three strokes to spare, alongside his compatriot Henrik Norlander.
But there was no such fortune for Fisher’s namesake Oliver, who missed out on a Tour card by a single shot when making bogey at the last. At 24, however, there’s still plenty of time on his side.
Other big names to fall at the final hurdle included Camilo Villegas, who won back-to-back Playoff events in 2008, as well as Heath Slocum, who also won in a playoff 12 months later.
Slocum needed a birdie on his last hole but a bad swing came at the wrong time. He pulled his tee shot into the water and made bogey. A day earlier, Slocum's ball moved a fraction of an inch before a putt and he called a one-shot penalty on himself.
“They say crazy stuff happens in Q-school, and it does,” said Slocum. “That’s never happened before. That’s one shot. You never know when one shot can help.”
Meanwhile, Villegas has said he will hope for sponsor exemptions to try to regain his full status.
The PGA TOUR will end a half-century of tradition next year when Q-school will only provide cards to those who qualify from the Web.com Tour - equivalent to Europe's Challenge Tour.
And the players from the PGA Tour who fail to reach the FedExCup Playoffs will meet in a series of four tournaments called ‘The Finals’ and the 25 players who earn the most money from those events will get their cards.
Final PGA Tour Q-School standings
-25 D hwan-Lee (Kor)
-24 R Fisher (Eng), S LeBrun (US)
-23 R H Lee, B Horschel, K Blanks (US)
-22 E Compton (US), B Fritsch (Can), J Park (Kor)
-21 F Gomez (Arg), S Bowditch (Aus), J Gove, M Letzig (US)
-20 R Karlsson (Swe), M Jones (Aus), E Meierdierks
-19 S Langley, A Watkins, D Ernst (US)
-18 S Woo Kim (Kor), T Ridings (US)
-17 C Reavie, P Reed, D Constable, B Gates, H Norlander (Swe)
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