Last year, Q-School meant only heartbreak for Blayne Barber. This time around, the former Auburn standout's fortunes changed considerably.
After disqualifying himself after the first stage of PGA Tour Q-School last year, Barber was one of 21 players to advance from the Brooksville, Fla. region Friday and earn a spot in the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School. While the 23-year-old will battle next month for full status on the circuit that has now become the gateway to the PGA Tour, simply teeing it up in the final stage will assure him of at least conditional status for the 2013-14 season.
Barber gained notoriety last year for his disqualification from Q-School nine days after it appeared he had advanced to the second stage, the product of an incorrect penalty for moving a loose impediment in a hazard. He went on to 10 starts last season across the PGA and Web.com Tours, notching a tie for second at the News Sentinel Open in August.
Other notable players advancing to the final stage, a 108-hole event held Dec. 12-17 at at PGA West, include Michael Kim, the reigning NCAA Player of the Year who is still competing as an amateur, 2012 U.S. Amateur Public Links Champion T.J. Vogel, and Tyler McCumber, son of former Players champion Mark McCumber.
Among the players eliminated during second-stage play, which was held across six different regions this month, were former PGA Tour winners Billy Mayfair, Frank Lickliter II, and Arjun Atwal, along with former U.S. Amateur champion Hank Kuehne and Bob May, who notably fell to Tiger Woods in a playoff at the 2000 PGA Championship.