Irishman Medallist at Canadian Q-School
The 27-year-old fired a final-round 6-under 66 to wind up with a five-day total of 15-under 345, seven shots in front of Australias Michael Curtain and reigning U.S. amateur runner-up Robert Hamilton. Chad Bellbin, Kyle Stinson and Kent Fukushima were Canadians who earned tour playing privileges for the remainder of the 2002 season.
Canadians earning non-exempt status were Mark Corrigan, Blair Buttar, Gord Burns and Jamie Kureluk.
The trio of Omelia, Hamilton and Curtain were paired together over the final three rounds of the 90-hole event and, with quite a cushion heading into the final day, seemed relaxed on the 7120-yard Dunes at Kamloops course.
Today I just went out with the attitude that there wasnt any pressure, said Omelia, a former member of the Ireland and Great Britain national squads. The three of us had set ourselves up quite nicely, but we still wanted to finish strong. There were a lot of good shots out there today, so we were all focused on the job at hand. It gave us a taste of what we can expect, because we are going to have to do that beginning next week (at the Bay Mills Open).
Curtain, 23, who also holds status on the Asian Davidoff Tour, had his sights set on obtaining a tour card when he arrived in Kamloops, and a quick start out of the gate earlier in the week pushed that target to a top-five showing. On Friday, he realized that goal, winding up tied for second.
This is a big step for me, and now I am looking forward to getting right out there, he admitted. I dont think I would have been in contention had I not had the chance to play with two guys like (Omelia and Hamilton). I am playing pretty confident right now, but there is still a lot to learn. And I know playing on the Canadian Tour will give me that chance to learn.
When the 24-year-old Hamilton dropped his final putt Friday, so too came an end to a stellar amateur career. Playing with Arnold Palmer during the legends final round at The Masters last month turned out to be Hamiltons amateur swan song, and he cant think of a better way to go out. Now he will face a new challenge beginning next week in Brimley, Mich.
I just talked to my parents, and they are excited - they have waited 24 years to see me turn pro, said Hamilton shortly after his round. I had done all I could as an amateur, but playing with Arnold Palmer in his final round at Augusta was like a storybook ending. But now it is time to embark on a new journey - there are a lot of great players here, and I am looking forward to it.
Scores Friday after the final round of the Canadian Tour's Spring Qualifying School held at the 7120-yard, par-72 The Dunes at Kamloops (x-earned exempt card in playoff):
EARNED EXEMPT CARD:
Omelia, Bryan Ireland 72-69-70-68-66_345 -15
Curtain, Michael Australia 70-71-69-71-71_352 -8
Hamilton, Robert Carmichael, CA 73-71-69-72-67_352 -8
Correa, Larry San Diego, CA 73-75-69-69-73_359 -1
Forsman, Johan Sweden 74-70-70-72-74_360 Even
Carr, Dave Sacremento, CA 71-75-78-69-68_361 1
Wood, Jeff Fortuna, CA 69-76-75-70-71_361 1
Belbin, Chad Kamloops, BC 77-72-70-71-72_362 2
Brunson, Daniel Greenville, SC 73-72-77-72-68_362 2
Fisher, Jason Bakersfield, CA 77-75-74-68-72_366 6
Stinson, Kyle Edmonton, AB 72-75-72-76-71_366 6
Scaletta, Paul Richmond, VA 73-77-72-73-72_367 7
Yamanaka, Moto Norwalk, CA 73-71-71-76-76_367 7
x-Valentin, Jerome Mission Viejo, CA 73-74-76-73-72_368 8
x-Fukushima, Kent Grande Prairie, AB 72-73-80-71-72_368 8
EARNED NON-EXEMPT CARD:
Corrigan, Mark Cornwall, PEI 72-73-79-72-72_368 8
Serna, Antonio Mexico 75-71-75-77-70_368 8
Buttar, Blair Leduc, AB 76-79-70-71-73_369 9
Flugstad, Brian Kenmore, WA 72-78-72-79-68_369 9
Gibbs, Jonathon Boise, ID 72-73-75-79-70_369 9
Snelling, Justin Boise, ID 74-75-73-70-77_369 9
Davey, Steve Tallahassee, FL 78-69-73-73-77_370 10
Gentry, Brian Tahoe City, CA 75-73-72-74-76_370 10
Nelson, Birk Philomath, OR 77-74-77-70-72_370 10
Bensel, Ken Belligham, WA 74-74-77-72-74_371 11
Burns, Gord Toronto, ON 74-77-72-74-74_371 11
Kureluk, Jamie Calgary, AB 73-75-79-74-70_371 11
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...
Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).
Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.
It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard
On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...
There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.
He sure looks like the real deal, though.
His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.
Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.
He picked up one more No. 2, too.
The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.
In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.
Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.
“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”
Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.
Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.
He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.
His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.
“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.
Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.
Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:
Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)
What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.
Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.
Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.
Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.
Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.
Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:
Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry