Bates won the season-ending Buy.Com Tour Championship by shooting a final-round 3-under 69. He finished the event at 4-under-par 284; three shots clear of Tom Carter (68) and Brenden Pappas (71).
Bates finished the year second on the money list ' with the top 15 in earnings gaining their 2002 PGA Tour cards.
But more importantly, Bates collected his third victory of the season, thus earning a battlefield promotion, and with it full exemption onto the big tour next season.
This is ten years of blood, sweat and tears, said Bates, who won $102,000. I fell like finally Im ready to go to The Show.
Pappas was also a bigger winner this week, moving from 23rd in earnings into 10th place. His entry equaled Todd Barrangers exit. Barranger started the week 15th in earnings, but finished tied for 46th and fell to 16th place on the final money list - $2,273 behind No.15 Michael Long.
Bates just completed his seventh season on the developmental tour. In his rookie year, he won the 1994 Dakota Dunes Open en route to finishing third on the money list. That led to his first appearance on the PGA Tour, which proved to be a major disappointment.
After spending 1996-98 on the Buy.Com Tour, Bates missed the majority of the 99 campaign after neck surgery nearly canceled his professional future.
However, the 31-year-old former Florida Gator returned to action in 2000, finishing 57th in the cash department.
This year, Bates started the season slowly before winning the Siouxland Open in July. He then capped his year with back-to-back victories in the Shreveport Open and the Tour Championship.
Final 2001 Buy.Com Money List
1.Chad Campbell $394,552
10.Brendan Pappas $188,152
11.Bo Van Pelt$175,947
Full-field scores from the Buy.Com Tour Championship