Wednesday, Aug 27, 2014

Campbell wins pro qualifier


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SEBRING - Peter Campbell of Nova Scotia, Canada claimed medalist honors at the NEC Series PGA Tour Latinoamérica Qualifying Tournament on Saturday at Sun 'n Lake Golf Club.

The outright leader through three rounds at 4-under, Campbell carded a 3-under 69 in the weather-delayed final round to win by three shots at 7-under 281.

Campbell leads a group of 51 players who earned their PGA Tour Latinoamerica cards for the 2014 season. The top 20 players enter the season with full exempt status, while the remaining 31 will have conditional status.

"I can't complain. I did what I came here to do, so job accomplished," said Campbell.

The 30-year-old Canadian was very consistent in the cold and windy conditions on the demanding Deer Run course and shot par or better in each of the four rounds.

Friday's final round was suspended by darkness which forced the final round to be completed on Saturday.

Campbell entered the day in a tie for first at 3-under for the event and pulled away over the 10 holes he played Saturday morning with birdies on 11, 12, 16 and 18, plus a bogey on 17.

"Great conditions today," Campbell said. "It was ideal for scoring. I played solid for the ten holes and made a 10 footer for par, but other than that I had a lot of looks at birdies."

A PGA Tour Canada member the last two seasons, Campbell will be playing for the first time in Latin America.

"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I have heard a lot of good things about it, so I'm excited."

Trailing Campbell by three strokes was Adam Long of Jupiter, who carded a final round 68 to finish as runner-up.

Bradley Hopfinger from Illinois, carded a final round 67, the lowest of the day, to finish in a three-way tie for third along with England's Tom Berry, who shot 68, and Cody Gribble of Texas, who fired a 71.

The day finished with a three-way playoff for the final two spots inside the top 20 and who will have full exempt status this season.

Casey Johnson Jr. was the first to secure the full card with a birdie on the third playoff hole at No. 10. Austin Graham birdied the next hole, No. 18, to edge out Andrew Mason and secure the other full card available.

A birdie-birdie-birdie finish secured full status for Colombia's Diego Velásquez, who entered the last three holes in a tie for 25th.

The 26-year-old from Bogota finished in a tie for the 11th spot as the leading Latin American player on the field.

"I took advantage of the conditions," Velasquez said. "There was no wind and it wasn't as cold either, so the ball was flying farther this morning. In addition to that, the greens were just perfect."

Velásquez earned his Tour card with a T13 finish at this same Qualifying Tournament last year, but he finished 73rd on the Tour's Order of Merit to lose his card.

"I have higher expectations going into my second season on Tour," he said. "Last year was tough, as I was going through some changes with my swing and on my mental approach. Hopefully, everything will come together this year."

The 51 players who earned their card this week represent nine countries.

The following is the player breakdown by country: United States (40), Canada (3), England (2), Austria (1), Colombia (1), Ireland (1), Germany (1), Mexico (1) and Sweden (1).

The NEC Series PGA Tour Latinoamérica 16-tournament schedule begins with the 67th playing of the Arturo Calle Colombian Open presented by Diners Club in February. The opening round of that first event is 26 days away.

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