Nick’s great form on the PGA Tour China earnt him membership of the web.com tour and a place in the final qualifying tournament to earn some guaranteed starts on the web.com Tour in 2019.
The tournament was played at the Whirlwind Golf Club in Arizona on the Devil’s Claw and Cattail courses from the 13th to the 16th December.
The winner receives fully exempt status on the 2019 web.com Tour. Those that finish in 2nd to 10th place are guaranteed entry into the first 12 events of the 2019 web.com Tour regular season and those that finish in 11th to 40th place and ties are guaranteed entry into the first 8 events. The remainder of the field receives conditional status on the 2019 web.com Tour.
The tournament was won by Danny Walker who finished on 27 under par. Nick had rounds of 66, 69, 69 and 67 to finish on 17 under par and in a tie for 50th – he was one shot off making that top 40.
In Nick’s own words…
I made the tough decision to skip the Australasia PGA tournament in Queensland, Australia to get to Arizona in the US to prepare for the final stage of web.com qualifying. Doing well in this tournament meant some guaranteed starts on the web.com tour in 2019. Unfortunately this decision came at the expense of an opportunity to play a great European PGA Tour event and the opportunity to earn some more money. These decisions, to play or not to play, to go there or stay here are important decisions and I am very fortunate to have a great support team offering guidance and advise on such decisions. The guiding principle is this – I will do what is best for my development, not for me today or tomorrow, but for me in the years to come.
The objective for the week before the tournament week was simple: to acclimatise to the weather in Arizona; to be in the gym each day (alternating lifting and movement pattern work); and to get enough time on the course hitting shots under pressure.
We were extremely fortunate to be hosted by some friends at a golf community called Desert Mountain which is the ultimate golf destination! We alternated sessions between Desert Mountain and TPC Scottsdale.
The scores for the web.com final qualifying tournament in 2017 at the Whirlwind Golf Club were pretty crazy so I knew that I was in for a big mental test – do I have the ability to shoot low numbers without trying to force low numbers? It is easy to fire an 8 iron at a flag knowing I need to make birdies, but it is much more difficult to fire an 8 iron 15 feet away from the flag knowing that this is the smart play and that in the back of my mind, I need to make birdies.
It’s an interesting concept, the ability to trust that my natural shot dispersion will create as many birdie opportunities as aiming at the flag. The key difference is that by aiming 15 feet away, I will reduce the amount of bogeys I will have. So my internal goal for the week was to try and shoot low numbers without being reckless and forcing things. My caddy Devin was pivotal in keeping me on track with this game plan.
I fired rounds of 66, 69, 69 and 67 to be 17 under par for the week. I finished in a tie for 50th place and was one shot away from guaranteed starts on the web.com tour via a top 40 finish. I went out on the last day knowing that I needed to go very low and to come up one shot short was bittersweet.
Afterwards, Devin and I had our tournament de-brief and we both agreed that I hadn’t played as well as I could have. Given the weather conditions and course set-up, I played decent enough to make it through but my execution at times was lacking (poor swings and poor putting) and I shot myself in the foot too many times.
Despite coming up short at this tournament, 2018 has been an absolutely incredible rookie year and I am excited to continue learning, growing and developing towards the PGA Tour. I started the year with no status and am now a member of the Web.com tour, the PGA Tour of China and the PGA Tour of Australasia.
Thank you to everyone for all the support. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and of course good golfing 🏌️♂️ 🏌️♀️ ⛳️ ☀️ 😎 !