McLachlin gets exemption to play in the Sony Open
The news comes barely a week after he earned his tour card
Parker McLachlin's good news continues to come in.
"Things are good, man," he said in a phone interview last night. "Things are good."
A little over a week after earning his PGA Tour card the hard way -- through Qualifying School -- McLachlin got a taste of the good stuff that comes with the big time.
The Punahou School alumnus has been granted a sponsor's exemption into the 144-player field for the 2007 Sony Open in Hawaii, the tournament and Friends of Hawaii Charities announced yesterday.
"Parker has been a high priority for the limited exemptions we can extend for the Sony Open next month, Jan. 8-14," Friends of Hawaii Charities president Anthony Guerrero said in a release. "We wanted to guarantee that Parker would play."
"It will be nice to have my first start as a PGA Tour member at the Sony Open in Hawaii," McLachlin said.
It will be meaningful. He savored chances to play at Waialae Country Club as a kid. McLachlin was in the Sony field just last year -- again, the hard way, via a playoff the Monday before the tournament began. After making it as a qualifier, he made the cut, finished 59th and earned a $10,914 check. Not a bad way to kick off a year on the Nationwide Tour.
McLachlin has also played in the 2006 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where he made the cut and finished tied for 38th, and the 2004 U.S. Open. He also qualified for the Sony Open field in 2000.
"We are extremely happy that Parker will be joining our other keiki o ka aina, Dean Wilson, Michelle Wie and Kevin Hayashi in this PGA Tour kick-off event of the 2007 season, creating another milestone in Hawaii golf," Guerrero said.
McLachlin said spending last season on the Nationwide Tour -- golf's equivalent of Triple-A ball -- will help him make the transition in his first year in the big league.
"It's getting to the point, spending a year on the Nationwide Tour, where I'm slowly starting to believe I belong out there," he said.
Still, this will be big, taking part in the Sony in his first event as a full-fledged member of the PGA Tour.
The Sony Open is the PGA Tour's first full-field event of the 2007 season. Defending champion David Toms is also confirmed for the $5.2 million tournament.
McLachlin said he plans to put on a clinic for junior golfers at Ko Olina Golf Club Jan. 6 -- the Saturday before the tournament.