David Bradshaw of Encinitas, Calif. carded a 7-under 65 on Tuesday at Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community to take the first round lead at PGA Tour Canada’s British Columbia Qualifying Tournament. Bradshaw led by two over Garrett Driver and Russell Surber after one round.
With the top 18 players this week earning exempt status and rest of the top 40 plus ties earning conditional status for 2014, 22 players were at 2-under or better and in position for full cards, while 52 players were at even or better and in position for conditional status.
The 31-year old Bradshaw is coming off an appearance two weeks ago at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, where he qualified to play on the PGA Tour for the fourth time in his career. He is playing PGA Tour Canada Q-School for the first time, with an eye on earning status on the Web.com Tour next season.
“In years previous, I’ve done a lot of Monday Qualifying and played some of the mini tours, but even playing well in those events doesn’t advance you to the next level,” said Bradshaw. “I had never been to Canada until four days ago, so I thought ‘why not? Let’s go to Canada’ and try to play my way up.”
The Shepherd University grad started with an eagle on the par-5 10th, his first hole of the day, and would go on to post six more birdies on the round. His only miscue on the day came on the par-5 15th, where a ball out-of-bounds led to a bogey.
“I putted really well and I went on a good run on the front. I rolled it pretty well and hit some close iron shots. It’s wet out there so you can play so aggressive, but the greens are perfect too so you can really get on a roll,” said Bradshaw, who added that he was able to play aggressively due to the near-perfect weather conditions.
“I didn’t even look at how far right and left the pins were – I just aimed right at them.”
Two shots behind Bradshaw were Humble, Texas’s Garrett Driver and longtime PGA Tour Canada member Russell Surber, who fired a pair of 5-under 67s. Four Canadians – Summerland, B.C.’s Greg Machtaler, Huntsville, Ontario’s Braeden Cryderman, Langley, B.C.’s Adam Cornelson and Calgary, Alberta’s James Love – were a shot further back at 68.
Machatler returns to Q-School a brand new player
From 2007-2011, Summerland, B.C.’s Greg Machtaler played PGA Tour Canada with modest success, making 15 of 30 cuts with five top-25 finishes but never finishing inside the top 10. After a couple of years away from the Tour and a massive year on the PGA of BC and PGA of Canada circuits, he’s back and Q-School looking like a player ready to make an impact.
The 31-year old won four tournaments last year, including the PGA of Canada’s Canada Cup and the PGA of BC Championship, and said he feels like he’s turned a corner with his game.
“I conquered a lot of mental demons last year,” said Machtaler. “It was a struggle for a while since I turned pro, but I had some breakthroughs last year and just kind of figured out how to let it go. I basically stopped trying so hard, and the results took care of themselves.”
Machtaler also won the PGA of BC’s Pro-Assistant and Assistants’ Championship last year to total four wins on the Summer, and said he has a new focus as he aims to return to the Tour this year.
“Maybe it’s because I’m a bit older too. I’ve had a couple of years away from the Touring golf and working and playing in the club pro circuit, and instead of putting too much pressure on myself I was able to just kind of relax,” said Machtaler.
Patience pays off for Surber
Former PGA Tour Canada winner Russell Surber came to Crown Isle this week as an alternate, hoping just to get into the field with a chance to return to the Tour he played for the past six seasons. When he finally got the call after Jackson Koert withdrew on Monday evening, he was ready to go, and his patience paid off with a 5-under 67 in round one.
“I thought there was a really good chance I was going to get in, so I just prepared mentally as if I was going to be in the field,” said Surber, who won the San Luis Potosi Open in 2008. “When I got in yesterday, I felt ready to go. I’ve been playing pretty well lately and just tried to continue that.”
Surber, who has played in 60 career PGA Tour Canada events, has been playing on the NEC Series – PGA Tour Latinoamérica this season, making four cuts in five starts including a T-16 finish at the Robert De Vicenzo Invitational two weeks ago in Argentina.