McLachlin just misses PGA Tour card
WINTER GARDEN, Fla. » Parker McLachlin, a former Punahou standout, just missed his PGA Tour Card, but qualified for the Nationwide Tour yesterday.
McLachlin finished the six-round PGA Tour qualifying tournament with a 10-under 422 at Winter Garden, Fla.
He won $5,000 for the effort, and he finished one stroke behind the cut for earning a PGA Tour card.
McLachlin shot a 3-under 69 yesterday.
Keoke Cotner, another Hawaii golfer, earned conditional Nationwide Tour status.
Cotner, who played in several Nationwide events in 2005, had a six-round total of 7-over 439. He shot 5-over 77 yesterday.
In the race for the tournament title, former Kentucky standout John Holmes became the first player in 22 years to leave college and win it, closing with a 3-under 69.
Alex Cejka of Germany was three shots back.
"I'm just glad it's over," said Holmes, who finished at 24-under 408. "I made it pretty easy on myself this week. I just went out there and tried to play 18 holes every day and act like I was playing with my buddies. It was a relief when that last putt went in on the last hole."
Typical of the last day at Q-school, there were high-wire acts and train wrecks, and tears of joy and disbelief. Overall, 32 players earned their PGA Tour cards.
Bill Haas, who narrowly missed his card last year, was headed for more heartache on the Panther Lakes course when he bogeyed the 15th hole to fall to 9 under, two shots below the projected cut line.
But with his father, Jay Haas, nervously watching, the rest of the round was pure clutch.
The 23-year-old Haas holed a 10-foot putt to save par on the 16th, made birdie on the 17th and came to the par-5 18th needing a birdie to get his card. From 203 yards away in the left rough, he chased his approach onto the front of the green, lagged his 50-foot eagle putt to inside 3 feet and sneaked it in the right side for a 72.
His father put his hand over his heart in relief, emotion shared by the son.
"It was tough out there today," Haas said. "I thought I was going the wrong way. Somehow, I snuck a putt in on the last hole. I was shaking. I was nervous."
Danny Ellis was even more spectacular at the end. He figured 10 under would be the number and wanted to get his chip close enough for a tap-in. He chipped in for eagle, which was a good thing when the cutoff moved to 11 under.
"I was just trying to get it close," Ellis said. "It was perfect."
The best comeback of all belonged to John Engler, a former All-American at Clemson who was told he probably wouldn't play golf again and might never walk properly after a horrific car accident two years ago.
Engler was driving home to Augusta, Ga., after a Hooters Tour event when he was involved in an accident on a rural road that left him trapped in a burning car, with a badly broken leg and head injuries. Two people were killed in the accident, and Engler nearly lost his leg to a staph infection.
But he worked harder than ever, got through the first two stages of Q-school, then shot 67-68 over the final two days to earn his card with two shots to spare.
"When I think of what I've been through the last 30 months," Engler said. "To think you can play a game like golf -- and play it pretty well -- and then have it taken away from you ... words can't describe what it feels like to get the opportunity to get all that back. It just shows that you should never give up."