Bertsch Is Champions Q-School Medalist; Beckman Ties for 21st
December 8, 2019
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Less turned out to be more for Shane Bertsch in 2019. The journeyman professional began playing on what was then the Hogan Tour (now Korn Ferry) in 1992 and basically bounced back and forth between that and the PGA Tour for 27 years. This year, he didn't play on either tour for the first time since 1995, and before last week he had played only eight competitive rounds all year.
That limited amount of competition didn't seem to hurt him during the Final Stage of PGA Tour Champions Q-School, however, as he opened the 72-hole qualifier with a 70 and followed it with a 67 and two 6-under-par 65's at TPC Scottsdale. Ultimately, he made a 6-foot putt on the 18th hole Friday, and that gave him a total of 267 (17 under), which was good for a one-stroke victory over Thongchai Jaidee.
More important, it gave him exempt status on the Champions Tour for 2020. The top five finishers all gained exempt status. Those who finished sixth through 30th (plus ties) in the tournament will be exempt from pr-qualifying next year.
Bertsch has played in 194 PGA Tour events, and finished in the top 10 five times. He's played in 325 events on the Hogan/Buy.com/Nationwide/Web.com/Korn Ferry Tour and won three times.
The 50-year-old Jaidee, who has eight victories on the European Tour, started the final day in a tie for 11th. But he closed with a 62 on the way to his runner-up finish at 268. He was the first player from Thailand to make the International team for the Presidents Cup (2015), and he will now be the first Thai to be a regular on the Champions Tour. Robert Karlsson, the 54-hole leader, shot a final-round 69 and finished third, two behind Jaidee at 270. Karlsson, who turned 50 in September, is from Sweden. He has won 11 times on the European Tour and will be one of Padraig Harrington's assistant captains for the 2020 Ryder Cup.
Robin Byrd and Stephen Leany earned the last two exemptions for 2020 by tying for fourth at 272.
Even though he gained fully exempt status, Bertsch won't be able to play right away when the 50-and-over season starts in January, because the 49-year-old from Colorado, won't turn 50 until March 30.
Cam Beckman, a three-time PGA Tour winner from Burnsville, will turn 50 in Feburary, and he was in a good position during the Final Stage with one round to go, tied for fifth. He needed a 69 on Friday but shot 76 and dropped back into a tie for 21st at 279.
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS
Q-School Final Stage
At TPC Scottsdale (par 71)
Final results (the top 5 finishers are exempt for the 2020 Champions Tour; those finishing 6th through 30th (and ties) are exempt from pre-qualifying)
1. Shane Bertsch 70-67-65-65--267
2. Thongchai Jaidee 67-71-68-62--268
3. Robert Karlsson 67-69-65-69--270
T4. Robin Byrd 66-72-66-68--272
T4. Stephen Leaney 65-66-71-70--272
Did not get fully exempt status
T21. Cameron Beckman 71-66-66-76--279