DeLaet signs PGA Tour card

IAN HUTCHINSON, SPECIAL TO SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:22 AM ET

The plan last night was to make Graham DeLaet's celebration of getting his PGA Tour card a low-key one.

"We have a little players meeting and then we're going to go out for a much deserved beer and a bite," said DeLaet, who shot a one-over 73 yesterday at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., in the final round of qualifying school to tie for eighth at 15 under. The top 25 and ties receive their tour cards.

Up the road in Daytona Beach, Montreal's Lisa Meldrum also had reason to celebrate as she tied for fifth at LPGA Tour qualifying school to earn her full-time card with a five-under during five rounds at LPGA International. The top 20 earn full-time privileges for 2010.

"Anyone who knows me knows I'm not very low-key when it comes to celebrating, but we've got a long day tomorrow with orientation, so I guess I'd better be somewhat of a good boy," DeLaet said.

The native of Weyburn, Sask., hasn't exactly been low-key in a magnificent breakthrough season that saw him win twice on the Canadian Tour to take the Order of Merit and once in South Africa, among several other high placings there in 2009.

In addition, he and Stuart Anderson from Victoria, B.C., won their World Cup qualifier in Estonia, then played in China just before DeLaet rushed right back to get to the final stage of Q-school.

"I felt good physically. It's something you can't even really describe ... the emotions going through the week and I think that got the best of me, more than physically," said DeLaet, whose first over-par round came yesterday.

DeLaet birdied the third hole, but double-bogeyed the fourth to finish the front nine at one over. A birdie on 12 was negated by a bogey on the next hole, then things began to look ominous with a double-bogey on 15.

Doubles were uncharacteristic for DeLaet this year, but he says he got first-hand experience of the pressure that goes along with Q-school before birdies on 17 and 18 minimized the damage.

"I hit some really, really poor shots today on my 13th tee box and my 15th tee box. I hit shots that I haven't hit for probably two or three years," said DeLaet, who started the round in a tie for second. "It was just all nerves. I've never been so nervous in my entire life on the golf course. I think the only thing that can compare to this was when my wife was walking up the aisle when were getting married."

DeLaet will join Mike Weir, Stephen Ames and Chris Baryla of Vernon, B.C., as the only Canadians on tour in 2010.

Meldrum, a three-time Canadian amateur champion, will join Hamilton's Alena Sharp, Charlottetown's Lorie Kane and Samantha Richdale of Kelowna, B.C., on the LPGA Tour in 2010.

"I don't know if it's sunk in yet," Meldrum said. "We're driving home and I just said: 'I'm going to play on the LPGA next year -- that sounds pretty good.' "

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SUN MEDIA GOLF COLUMNIST IAN HUTCHINSON IS THE OWNER AND OPERATOR OF WWW.GOLFNEWSNOW.CA


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