Baryla punches PGA Tour card

TODD SAELHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:21 AM ET

CALGARY - Chris Baryla didn't let a Sunday swoon affect his card game.

There he was back at the table Monday, putting together one final hand in a bid to make the grade at PGA Tour Q-School in Winter Garden, Fla.

His payday? After shooting a sizzling 6-under — including five straight birdies to start the back nine — during the sixth and final stage, the Calgary-born Baryla earned a PGA Tour card, joining five other Canadians for the 2011 season.

“Just less bogeys,” said Baryla, 28, with a sigh of relief after Monday’s final round lifted him into the top-25 qualifiers to gain tour status. “I really did find my game. I tried to stay very focused on being in the present.”

That after he fell Sunday out of the top 25.

His 2-over 74 on the Panther Lake course in the fifth round dropped him three strokes below the cut-line. It followed rounds of 72, 61, 73 and 71 at Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge.

“I didn’t let Sunday bother me,” said Baryla, who carded a six-round, 12-under 417 to finish tied for 12th place among 153 hopefuls. “The Panther course was not my favourite to begin with, but I knew if I could just get around it (Sunday), I would have a chance.”

Baryla, who pocketed just US$24,245 playing in seven PGA events this past season, was back in Q-school this fall trying to earn full-time status after his rookie year on tour was dashed by health issues and multiple injuries.

The only other Canadian to make the cut at Q-school was Ontario's Matt McQuillan, who posted an 11-under 418 to tie for 16th.

McQuillan, 29, shot one-under-par 71 in his final round on the Crooked Cat course, notching key pars on the final two holes.

A round of five-under on Sunday put McQuillan in the hunt and he played consistently on Monday to stay in the top 25.

The total purse on the 2011 PGA Tour is estimated to be US $288 million.

McQuillan and Baryla will be among six Canadians on the PGA Tour in 2011. He joins former Masters champion Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., Stephen Ames of Calgary, David Hearn of Brantford, Ont. and Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask.

The 2011 PGA Tour schedule opens with the Sony Open of Hawaii, Jan. 13-16 in Honolulu.

The next week is the Bob Hope Classic in La Quinta, Calif. -- traditionally the first tournament for many Q-School graduates.

The RBC Canadian Open is July 21-24 in Vancouver.


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