|Calgary's Ryan Yip sits 21st after Day 4 of PGA Q-School's final stage in La Quinta, Calif. The Top 25 finishers get PGA Tour cards for 2012. (QMI Agency)
Ryan Yip must feel right at home in the dusty desert.
Although Yip was born and raised in Calgary, the 24-year-old has spent a significant chunk of the past few years honing his skills in Indio, Calif.
He was obviously in his comfort zone during Saturday’s fourth round of the final stage of PGA Tour Q-School at PGA West Resort in nearby La Quinta, where Yip cobbled together a 5-under 67 and climbed into a tie for 21st position with two days to go.
The top 25 finishers, plus ties, at the six-round event will earn full-time employment on the PGA Tour next year. Alabama’s Will Claxton has posted a four-day total of 15-under 273 and continues to hold a two-stroke lead.
Yip mixed six birdies and only one bogey in Saturday’s lap of the TPC Stadium Course, equalling the best score of the day in blustery conditions.
A regular on the Canadian Tour for the past five summers, Yip was one of only five golfers to finish Saturday’s round in the 60s.
Otherwise, it wasn’t a great day for the guys from the Great White North.
While Yip climbed back into the mix, most of his countrymen were headed south on the scoreboard.
Stuart Anderson of Strathmore, Alta., registered his first over-par round of the week — a 1-over 73 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course — but actually climbed a few spots into a share of 28th with a four-day tally of 4-under 284, while Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., posted a 4-over 76 on the same track and slipped to a tie for 41st at 3-under.
The Golden Bear’s design at PGA West also caused problems for Brad Fritsch of Manotick, Ont. The former Nationwide Tour regular teed off in a tie for ninth but struggled to a 6-over 78 in Saturday’s loop and is now 2-under with two rounds remaining.
Calgary’s James Love fired a 5-over 77 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course and is 5-over through four rounds, while Richard Scott of Kingsville, Ont., fired the exact same score in Saturday’s action and is now 9-over for the tourney.
Matt McQuillan of Kingston, Ont., who is guaranteed part-time status on the PGA Tour after a solid season in 2011, withdrew from the event prior to Saturday’s round.
Vancouver’s Richard T. Lee (11-over) and Mitch Gillis (12-over) of Williams Lake, B.C., are both near the bottom the leaderboard.