Kissimmee, FL--Former North Greenville golfer and head coach, Brad Caldwell, has earned full playing status on PGA Tour Canada for the 2016 season.
Caldwell did so by competing last week in one of four PGA Tour Canada Qualifying School sites across the country at the Reunion Resort – Nicklaus Course in Kissimmee, FL. Each Q-School site consists of 132 professional golfers and top ranked amateurs who are competing for 16 qualifying spots for status on PGA Tour Canada this year. Caldwell finished the 72 hole at -8 (71,70,71,68 – 280) under par and good enough for 3rd place, guaranteeing him full exempt playing status for the season.
Last year’s qualifying tournament on the 7,300 Par 72 Nicklaus Course at Reunion saw only one player break par for 72 holes, with +12 earning playing status for the 2015 season. The stern test was no match for Caldwell as he was the only player in the field of 132 to card an under par round each day. “Going into any tournament I like to give myself a number to shoot for” added Caldwell “I knew how tough the course played last year but I was confident in where my game was so I was looking to get to double digits under par for the week, I thought that would give me a shot to win and that was my goal.” The Nicklaus course showed it’s teeth with the scoring average on day one being 75.89, Caldwell however got off to a very tidy start of 1-under 71 which put him in T2 going into the second round. “I told myself I wasn’t going to look at a leaderboard at all the first two days, that kept me focused on just one shot at a time and my goal.” said Caldwell. Over the course of the next three rounds the players not only battled the tough Nicklaus Course but “Mother Nature” as well.
After multiple stoppages of play, Caldwell found himself midway through the final round at 1 over par for his round thru 11 holes and -3 under total, before the horn blew for darkness. “The starting and stopping had really got me out of rhythm and I was glad the horn blew so I could regroup the next morning.” recalled Caldwell. At the stoppage of play mid way thru the final round the number to get exempt status had fell to 2 under par. Caldwell, who was playing in the second to last group right in front of the leaders, knew he needed to come out and make some birdies. Following the resumption of play, Caldwell caught fire birding 5 of his last 6 holes coming in including 4 birdies in a row to finish on 15,16,17, and 18 to shoot a final round 4-under 68. Caldwell posted a 72 hole total of 8-under par to finish in solo 3rd place four shots back of Q-School Champion Seth Reeves (Suwanee, GA).
Caldwell was a NCAA Ping All-American in 2010 at North Greenville University and played full-time professionally straight out of college for the 2011 season before returning to his alma mater as an Assistant Golf Coach. Caldwell was promoted to Head Coach for the 2014-15 seasons where he led the Men’s team to a NCAA DII ranking of #13 and the most successful season in NGU athletics history, as well as being named the Conference Carolinas - Coach of the Year. Caldwell resigned in January to purse his professional golf career, “ I wanted to prove to everyone that North Greenville is a place where you can come get a great education and have absolutely everything you need to play professionally at the next level, best facilities and coaches in the country.” remarked Caldwell. As a way to give back Caldwell plans to donate a percentage of his winnings each week to the North Greenville Men’s and Women’s Golf Programs.
With Caldwell’s solo 3rd finish, he will be fully exempt for the 2016 PGA Tour Canada Season. PGA Tour Canada is sanctioned and governed by the PGA Tour and allows year end “graduation” to the Web.com Tour based of the Order of Merit. PGA Tour Canada has a 12 event season starting with the Freedom 55 Financial Classic May 23-26 in Vancouver, BC. More information on the tour can be found on www.pgatour.com.