Minnesota Golf Association

Branshaw Is Medalist in 1st Stage of Champions Q-School; Tiziani Advances

November 20, 2021


VALRICO, Fla. -- David Branshaw played the first three rounds in the First Stage of PGA Tour Champions Q-School in 14 under par. He then made five birdies on the front nine on Friday at Buckhorn Springs in the final round, which enabled him to survive a bogey-double bogey start on his final nine and still be the medalist. 

The 52-year-old former two-time winner on the Nationwide (now Korn Ferry) Tour made a birdie at 440-yard, par-4 13th hole, for a little insurance, but he didn't need it. His closing 69 (3 under) gave him a 72-hole total of 271 (17 under), and that was good enough for a two-shot margin of victory. Tom Labritz posted the lowest score on the final day, a 68, and that moved him up into second place at 273. 

Branshaw spent three seasons (2004, '06, '07) on the PGA Tour, playing in 90 tournaments and making 42 cuts. 

The top 17 finishers from Buckhorn Springs will advance to the Champions Q-School Final Stage. It will be played Dec. 7-10 at TPC Tampa Bay. This was one of three First Stage qualifiers. There was another one this week in Nipton Valley, Calif., and the third will be in two weeks in Winter Garden, Fla. 

Among those joining Branshaw in the Final Stage will be Mario Tiziani, 51. A part-time fill-in caddie for his brother-in-law, Steve Stricker, who has won on both the PGA and Champions tours -- and was the captain of the winning U.S. team in the this year's Ryder Cup Matches. Tiziani was a star for the University of Wisconsin team and later played for one season on the PGA Tour, in 2005, after making it through the old PGA Tour Q-School -- on his 12th try. 

He got his amateur status back a few years later, but turned professional again when he hit 50. He won the senior opens for both Minnesota and Wisconsin this summer, and did it in spectacular fashion. Having come from four behind on the final nine at Keller GC to win the Minnesota Senior Open, he came from 10 behind on the final nine at Blackhawk Country Club to win in Wisconsin.

In the First Stage tournament this week at Buckhorn Springs, he was a model of consistency, sort of. He shot 70, 71 and 70 in the first three rounds, and he had another 70 on Friday. But he shot 32 on the front nine, thanks to an eagle (No. 2, 506 yards, par 5) and two birdies, and he got to 5 under for the day when he birdied the 12th hole. He bogeyed the 13th, 15th and 18th on the way in, but the resulting 70 put him at 281 for the week, and that was good enough for solo seventh place.

It took a score of 285 to advance. There was a four-way tie for 16th at that number, and a 4-for-2 playoff. 

Fifty-three players did not advance. One of them was Robert Gamez, who won three times on the PGA Tour, including his first start, the 1990 Northern Telecom Tucson Open. But the most famous of the non-qualifiers was probably John Smoltz, the former star pitcher for the Atlanta Braves who has done well in a lot of celebrity golf tournaments since retiring from baseball. He was never in contention this week, however, and he ended up in a tie for 55th at 310 (77-80-77-76).     


PGA Tour Champions Q-School

First Stage

At Buckhorn Springs

Par 72, 6,925 yards

Valrico, Fla. 

Final results (top 17 players advance to Final Stage of Q-School, Dec. 7-10, at TPC Tampa Bay)


1. David Branshaw                  68-69-65-69--271

2. Rob Labritz                           66-69-70-68--273

3. Michael Muehr                      69-69-64-72--274

T4. Jean-Francois Remesy      68-72-67-70--277

T4. Jay Williamson                   68-70-70-69--277

6. Tom Werkmeister                 70-72-67-70--279

7. Mario Tiziani                       70-71-70-70--281

What it took -- 285 (4-way tie for 16th, 4-for-2 playoff)

 


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