Speirs makes the grade

KEN WIEBE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:49 AM ET

It went down to the wire, but Adam Speirs is advancing to the second round of PGA Tour Qualifying School.

Speirs, a touring golf professional who plays out of St. Charles, survived a bit of a scare before regrouping to earn one of 29 available spots from the group that teed it up at the Treyburn Country Club in Durham, N.C., last week.

The Winnipegger, who turns 30 this month, entered Saturday's fourth and final round with a share of 34th spot and understood he'd have to play well in order to move into the top-25 and ties.

Thanks to a tidy 2-under 70 that included four birdies, two bogeys and 12 pars, Speirs finished at 2-over 290 and tied for 21st spot -- two shots ahead of the cut line.

A little too close for comfort?

Absolutely, but Speirs (who shot 71-75-74-70) ultimately got the job done and that's all that matters.

"I drove it a little better and I putted really good, on the back-9 especially," Speirs said in a telephone interview from North Carolina. "I made a couple of good up-and-downs and a couple of good birdie putts and it was enough.

"I've been close for a few years now at Q-school and you get to thinking, 'Is this going to be the year?' To get through first stage is very important, to at least give you the opportunity to get to the finals."

After completing his best season on the Canadian Tour (one that included his first four-round tournament victory and a 13th place finish on the Rolex Order of Merit with $32,999.73), Speirs confessed he was feeling a little uneasy coming into last week.

"I felt a little more pressure, for some reason," said Speirs. "Coming off a win this summer and having a little more exposure, there were more people watching and there were greater expectations for me to at least get through the first stage. If I wouldn't have gotten through the first stage, it would have been really disappointing.

"I know my game is accomplished enough that if I show up and play good, that I'm getting through (Stage 1). No matter what the conditions are or what the golf course is. As far as second stage goes, I have to play really well to get through."

Speirs expects to find out this morning where he'll be headed for the second stage of Q-school.

There's a good chance he could be headed to Lantana, Tex., the same course Speirs played the first stage of Q-school in 2006 and 2007 and advanced both times.

Regardless of where he's teeing it up for the next step, Speirs used a hockey analogy to describe what's upcoming as he continues to push to move up to golf's next level.

"These are our playoffs right now," said Speirs, who was fifth on the Canadian Tour in birdies this season. "And in some ways, in my position right now, the second stage is almost like the Stanley Cup finals because if I get through the second stage, I at least have Nationwide Tour status and I still have the opportunity to get my PGA Tour card.

"To get to third stage would be like winning the Stanley Cup. The biggest goal every year right now is to get to the final stage. I know my game is good enough and I just need to bring it, as they say. If I have my A-game at second stage, I'm getting through."


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