Hearn earns his card hard way

MIKE RUTSEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:06 AM ET

David Hearn was in a free fall.

The Brantford native started his day sitting pretty at the PGA Tour's qualifying school.

With one round to go, he was tied for second at 13 under par. Given that the top 30 players and ties receive their Tour playing cards for 2005, Hearn was a shoo-in.

Uh, not quite.

By the turn yesterday, Hearn, 25, was four over on the day and starting to see it slip away.

"To be honest I wasn't too worried about it because basically everything that could go wrong did go wrong," Hearn said of his round to that point.

"There was nothing that I got too down on myself on."

At the 17th he was six over, right on the cut line of at seven under par for players receiving their Tour card.

A wayward tee shot and a chunky chip left him some 15 feet from the cup on the par-3. A miss would be another bogey and that would be that as 18 is not a par-4 where birdies are easily made.

But Hearn calmly rolled it into the centre of the cup to stay alive, needing just a par at 18 on the PGA West course.

"People are going to bring up the putt on 18 (a 50-foot bomb) and it was pretty exciting but the putt on 17 was more important," said Hearn, who earned his card with a five-over 77 to finish at eight under. "It put me in a position where a two-putt was all I needed on 18 so it was definitely a little more tension than I'd like."

He didn't look tense on the 18th as, after a wayward drive into the right rough, he found the fringe. Needing two putts, clinched the deal with his 50-footer.

Afterward, he said he didn't believe he was tentative at the start, protecting his position instead of going for it.

"I tried not to," Hearn said of changing his approach. "I think that having never been in this situation before, I didn't know if nerves got the better of me or not. I tried to keep focused.

"I feel very proud that over the final four holes I only hit one green but managed to finish one under."

His first PGA test comes in the second week in January at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

The day did not turn out as joyous for Aurora's David Morland. He started the day tied for 22nd but a six-over 78 left him at minus-one and tied for 81st.

Jim Rutledge of Victoria needed a low round but the best he could manage was a 69. He finished tied for 44th, two shots shy of his target.

Alan McLean of Thunder Bay also shot 69 and tied for 81st. Carl Desjardins of Montreal finished with a 78 and at plus 14 tied for 153rd.


Videos

Photos