Nationwide Tour gig for Yip

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:36 AM ET

CALGARY - Pleased with a promotion?

Sure, but Calgary’s Ryan Yip is simply thrilled it’s over.

The six-round final stage of PGA Tour Q-School has earned a reputation as the most pressure-packed golf event in the world, and Yip wasn’t disputing that after his first taste of the tournament that’s been compared to a half-dozen days in hell.

“I don’t think people realize how gruelling it is. Mentally, it just takes so much out of you,” Yip said after Monday’s final round.

“Right now, I just feel like I don’t even want to touch a golf club for a month. I don’t even want to think about golf right now.”

When Yip does return to the practice range, he’ll be preparing for his first season on the Nationwide Tour.

Twenty-seven golfers graduated to the PGA Tour after Monday’s last lap at the final stage of Q-School at PGA West Resort in La Quinta, Calif, and although there wasn’t a single Canadian on the list of survivors, Yip and two others scored full-time employment on the second-tier tour next season.

Brad Fritsch of Manotick, Ont., and Stuart Anderson of Strathmore will also be Nationwide Tour regulars in 2012.

The other Canadians who teed it up in the final stage — Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., James Love of Calgary, Richard Scott of Kingsville, Ont., Richard T. Lee of Vancouver and Mitch Gillis of Williams Lake, B.C. — will settle for conditional status on the developmental loop.

“It’s a good stepping stone to where I want to be,” Yip said. “I’m just happy that I’m moving up in the golf world.”

Yip fired a 3-under 69 in his final walk around the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West Resort, posting a six-day total of 7-under 425. The 26-year-old made birdie on No. 18 to finish tied for 30th at final stage, missing the magic number by one stroke.

Fritsch, 34, also carded a 3-under 69 in Monday’s final round, good for a share of 38th at 6-under, while Anderson was T54 at 4-under after registering a 1-under 71 in his last lap.

The 33-year-old Anderson might’ve summed it up best with a Twitter post not long after signing his scorecard, writing, “Full nationwide card ain’t bad!”

Ain’t that the truth.

The PGA Tour truly is an exclusive club, and it’s not getting any easier to earn a membership.

Georgia’s Brendon Todd won medallist honours with a six-day total of 17-under 415. The list of graduates from this year’s gruelling entrance exam also included four-time PGA Tour winner Bob Estes and three-time Ryder Cup competitor Jeff Maggert.

Among those on the outside looking on are two-time U.S. Open champion and David Duval, who has 13 PGA Tour trophies on his mantle — including the Claret Jug from the 2001 British Open — and was once ranked as the No. 1 player on the planet.

The Canadians who teed it up at PGA West Resort are good golfers, too.

Hadwin took the PGA Tour by storm in five starts this season, surviving the cut at the U.S. Open in his first major and carving out a tie for fourth at the RBC Canadian Open and a seventh-place finish at the Frys.com Open.

Fritsch, meanwhile, has already logged three seasons on the Nationwide Tour.

Anderson is a four-time tournament winner on the Canadian Tour, while Yip and Love have also collected first-place prizes on the CanTour circuit.

The best part is, Fritsch is the greybeard of the bunch. Six of Canada’s Q-School combatants are still in their 20s.

That means they’ve all got a lot of golf ahead of them.

They just won’t be full-time members of the PGA Tour next year. That part will have to wait.


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