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Strong Australasian line-up at Champions Tour Q School

Important week for Peter Lonard and others. (Photo: Bruce Young)
Former Australian Open Champions Peter Lonard and Craig Parry will be joined by fellow Australians Stephen Leaney and Gavin Coles and New Zealanders Michael Long, Grant Waite and Martin Pettigrew in pursuit of one of the five PGA Tour Champions card for 2019.

Seventy-eight players face the starter at the TPC Tampa Bay in Lutz near Tampa in West Florida beginning Tuesday 27th November, chasing the chance to compete for the riches of golf for the over 50's. The event is played over 72 holes.

Lonard fell short of the mark last year when attempting to gain his card four months after an outstanding 3rd place finish on debut at the Senior Open Championship at Royal Porthcawl.

The now 51 year old Sydneysider has played several events on the Champions Tour in 2018 courtesy of various categories but the chance to get full exemption will open the door to tremendous opportunity for the former PGA Tour event winner, the two time Australian Open Champion and three time Australian PGA Champion.

Parry played the Champions Tour in 2016 and 2017 with limited success and lost his status and now attempts to get it back after struggling in the few events he has played elsewhere of late.

Parry won the 2007 Australian Open Championship and two events on the PGA Tour including a WGC event. 

Stephen Leaney is a former US Open runner-up and recently won the First Stage of Champions Tour Qualifying at his venue in California. The 50 year old has remained tournament sharp with good finishes in recent Tier 2 events on the PGA Tour of Australasia.

Gavin Coles was a winner on the Web.Com Tour and played the PGA Tour for several years and just snuck into this week’s field through First Stage qualifying recently.

Grant Waite played the Champions Tour in previous years and did well enough to finish 3rd in the US Senior Open in 2015 after finishing runner-up at Q School in 2014. He has lost status however and now fights to get it back.

Michael Long, a former PGA Tour player, has played well in regular tour events on the PGA Tour of Australasia as he closed in on turning 50 and earlier this year won the WA PGA Championship in Kalgoorlie in his home state of Western Australia.

Long graduated to the Final Stage courtesy of his effort at the First Stage in California.

Martin Pettigrew recently won the Australian Senior PGA Championship and then produced a stirling effort to advance from Stage One. Hardly a standout as a player during most of his professional career, Pettigrew has opened the door to an opportunity most veteran golfers only dream about.

Only the leading five players earn the right to compete for the riches off the Champions Tour but those finishing between 6th and 30th they will get the chance to Monday qualify each week if they so choose.

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