Irishman Medallist at Canadian Q-School


Canadian Tour-LargeKAMLOOPS, BC -- Bryan Omelia of Ireland carded the low round of the week Friday to win the Canadian Tours Spring Qualifying 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):
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

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