Kiwi eyes return to lucrative PGA

PETER LAMPP
Last updated 12:00 28/11/2012
PGA
ROSS SETFORD/NZPA
Tim Wilkinson during the New Zealand PGA Championship, Clearwater Golf Club, Christchurch in 2007.

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All Tim Wilkinson of Jacksonville Beach, Florida, has to do over six gruelling rounds at the PGA Tour's Q School this week is emulate his 2007 triumph.

That was when the Manawatu professional qualified for the main tour through Q School by finishing in a tie for 14th in Florida.

From next year, the format changes with the qualifying school only getting players into the No 2 Web.com tour. From then 2014 PGA Tour cards will be awarded after a three-tournament series, known as the Web.com Tour Finals.

The top 75 money winners on the Web.com Tour and the golfers placed between 126 and 200 on the FedEx Cup points list will be eligible to play in that.

The top 25 on the Web.com Tour money list heading into the finals will receive PGA Tour cards, with the remaining 25 cards to be based on money earned in the finals.

Wilkinson, 34 and a pro since 2003, has told his coach Andre White at the Manawatu Golf Club he feels it will be a fair system.

As for this week, he just hopes the two Q School courses he is familiar with at La Quinta, in the desert in California, are set up like a PGA Tour event, not with wide fairways and short rough to benefit the big bombers.

"He is hitting it well, and longer than ever and has solid control over his swing and ball," White said.

"He is not getting anxious about playing, not nervous about wanting to do well and pushing a bit hard."

His putting technique just needs to hold up.

"He just has to play solidly for six days and he will make it."

White said it was impossible to have your A game going for six days.

Wilkinson was one of only four players to play all 27 events on the Web.com Tour this year. He also made the most cuts (19) to earn US$100,862 (NZ$122,848) and finished 57th on the money list with a scoring average of 70.46. He told White it felt a lot like 2007 when he was solid without being brilliant.

He was the sole player to qualify for the Tour Championship who did not have a top-four finish in a tournament.

Wilkinson and Danny Lee were the only New Zealanders to reach the final stage. Wilkinson spent from 2008 to 2010 on the PGA Tour when he earned US$1,167,607

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- Manawatu Standard

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