The plan last night was to make any celebration of Graham DeLaet getting his PGA Tour card a low-key one.
“We have a little players meeting and then, we’re going to go out for a much deserved beer and a bite to eat,” said DeLaet, who shot a one-over 73 in the final round of qualifying school to tie for eighth at 15 under. The top 25 and ties receive their cards.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not very low-key when it comes to celebrating, but we’ve got a long day tomorrow with orientation, so I guess I’d better be somewhat of a good boy,” said DeLaet yesterday.
The native of Weyburn, Sask., hasn’t exactly been low-key in a magnificent breakthrough season that saw him win twice on the Canadian Tour to take the Order of Merit on that circuit and win once in South Africa, among several high placings there in 2009.
In addition, he and Stuart Anderson from Victoria, B.C., won their World Cup qualifier in Estonia, then played in China just before DeLaet rushed right back to get to the final stage of Q-school at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla.
“I felt good physically. It’s something that you can’t even really describe, the emotions going through the week and I think that got the best of me more than physically,” said DeLaet, whose first round above par came at the end on Monday.
DeLaet birdied the third hole, but double bogeyed the fourth to finish the front nine at one-over. A birdie on 12 was negated by a bogey on the next hole, then things began to look ominous with a double bogey on 15.
The doubles were uncharacteristic for DeLaet this year, but he says he got first-hand experience of the pressure that goes along with Q-school before birdies on 17 and 18 allowed him to minimize the damage.
“I hit some really, really poor shots today on my 13th tee box and my 15th tee box. I hit shots that I haven’t hit for probably two or three years,” said DeLaet, who started the round in a tie for second.
“It was just all nerves. I’ve never been so nervous in entire life on the golf course. I think the only thing that can compare was when my wife was walking up the aisle when were getting married,” he said.
“It was starting to happen to me,” he said of the legendary pressure of Q-school. “I hit two really good shots on 17, a long par five. I hit a perfect drive and a perfect three-wood up and actually horseshoed it.
“I made a nice (putt) on the last hole, a 30-40 footer for birdie to finish it off,” he said. “Then, I got emotional to be honest with you.”
DeLaet had accomplished his goal of taking the next step in his career by already earning a ticket to the Nationwide Tour after getting through the second stage. He has now skipped that stepping stone to join Mike Weir, Stephen Ames and Chris Baryla of Vernon, B.C., as Canadians on tour in 2010.
“It was a great year for me from a professional standpoint and couldn’t have finished off in any better way unless I would have won this week. I think that’s the only thing that could have possibly been better,” said DeLaet, who had originally planned to play in South Africa later this month.
Things have changed.
“I’ll tell you, my wife and I are going to Hawaii on the 17th for six days and I’m looking forward to that – we both are,” he said. “I’m not going to take my clubs and it’s going to be awesome.”
Montreal’s Julien Trudeau just missed being among the top 25 who get their cards after going two-under yesterday to tie for 26th at eight under. Peterborough’s Ted Brown started the final round in a tie for 21st, but ended up with a four-over 76 to tie for 42nd.
For final results, see Your Q-School Leaderboard on the GNN home page.