CANADA’S ADAM SVENSSON WINS WEB.COM TOUR QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT
Canadian Adam Svensson cruised to a seven-shot victory on Sunday at PGA National Resort & Spa to earn medalist honors at the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament. The 21-year-old from Surrey, British Columbia, carded a 1-over 72 on the Champion Course for a 20-under-par 266 total.
“It’s huge,” said Svensson, who collected a check for $25,000 and earned fully-exempt status on the Web.com Tour in 2016. “It’s always tough to win at any level, so I just tried to have fun.”
Jason Millard (70) and Ian Davis (69) took home a share of second at 13-under 273 and head a list of players from Nos. 2-10 who will be exempt through the third reshuffle.
Former Auburn standout Dominic Bozzelli (70) was alone in fourth at 12-under 274.
With the wind whipping through Palm Beach Gardens most of the day, Svensson could feel the pressure of being in contention weighing on him. The former Barry University Buccaneer made key saves throughout the final round, which allowed him to maintain his hefty lead. When he two putted the 72nd green for par, Svensson exhaled and realized he was one step closer to his dream.
Svensson’s journey began in Canada, but was realized in Miami. After two stellar years at Barry, Svensson decided to leave after his sophomore campaign to pursue golf full time. In just six starts on Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada, the former Division II Player of the Year recorded two runner-up performances and finished No. 9 on the Order of Merit. He also added three top 25s in seven starts on the Web.com Tour
“I was pretty confident with my decision,” said Svensson about leaving school early. “Just being able to start from the bottom and work your way up, I think that’s pretty important.”
With the 2016 Web.com Tour Regular Season set to begin in Panama City, Panama, at the Panama Claro Championship in late January, Svensson’s mission is clear.
“My goal is to win out there and get my PGA TOUR card,” He said.
Svensson’s ambition doesn’t stop there. The Golf Canada’s Young Pro Squad member would cherish the experience of playing in the summer games next year.
“I would love to play in the Olympics,” he said, when asked about the chance to represent Canada in Rio. “It’s going to be hard, there’s a lot of good Canadians on the PGA TOUR.”
The Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament is a four-day, 72-hole competition that ended on Sunday, Dec. 13. The tournament was contested at the PGA National Resort & Spa’s Champion Course (CC) and Fazio Course (FC). The Champion Course has played host to The Honda Classic on the PGA TOUR since 2007. The Fazio Course plays to a par-72, while the Champion Course plays to a par-71.
The famous stretch of golf that consists of holes 15-17 on the Champion Course, known as “The Bear Trap,” once again provided players with a tough test. The par 3s (Nos. 15 and 17) tied for the second toughest holes between the two courses, while the par-4 16th finished as the fourth toughest.
There were nearly 1,000 entries for the tournament, which included previous Pre-Qualifying, First and Second stages that began in August.
Players in this event competed for positions on the 2016 Web.com Tour priority ranking, which will be used to form tournament fields. The medalist is guaranteed fully-exempt status next year. Players #2-10 (and ties) will be subject to the third reshuffle next year and players #11-45 (and ties) will be subject to the second reshuffle.
This week’s medalist earned $25,000. Players #2-10 (and ties) earned $15,000 each. Players #11-45 (and ties) earned $10,000 each.
Adam Svensson weathered breezy conditions on Sunday to become the second consecutive Canadian to win the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament. Edmonton, Alberta, native Brad Fritsch posted 27 under par last year in 108 holes to win by seven shots over Andrew Landry. Svensson, a native of Surrey, British Columbia, won by seven strokes in 72 holes and is fully exempt for the 2016 Web.com Tour Regular Season.
Svensson led the field in Scrambling for the week (13 of 16), including 5 of 6 conversions in the final round. He also finished third in Driving Accuracy (46 of 56).
Svensson is part of Golf Canada’s Young Pro Squad, which was developed in partnership with the PGA of Canada to bridge the gap for top graduating amateurs transitioning into professional golf and gives its members exemptions into select Mackenzie Tour events. There were three other members of the Young Pro Squad in the field this week: Mackenzie Hughes (T21), Albin Choi (T14) and Taylor Pendrith (T14).
Mackenzie Tour alum Jason Millard made birdied on the final hole to shoot a final-round 1-under 70 to finish T2 at 13-under 273.
After a double bogey on the par-3 17th hole, the Murfreesboro, Tenn., native was able to rebound on the par-5 18th hole by holing a short birdie putt to tie Ian Davis.
Millard played 11 events on the Mackenzie Tour this season and posted four top 25s. The 26-year-old Middle Tennessee State alum won the Freedom 55 Financial Championship by defeating Ryan Williams in a playoff to capture his first Mackenzie Tour title in the season finale and play his way into The Five.
Of the six players that finished inside the top 5, three competed on the Mackenzie Tour in 2015 (Millard, Svensson and Ryan Brehm).
After beginning the week with a 1-under 70 on the Champion Course, 24-year-old Ian Davis vaulted up the leader board with back-to-back 67s to move into the top 10. The Oklahoma State product secured Web.com Tour exempt status through the third reshuffle with a 2-under 69 in the final round for a T2 finish.
Conquering “The Bear Trap” is typically a recipe for success on the Champion Course, and Davis was able to shoot 2-under over two trips through the challenging three-hole stretch.
A native of Kingfisher, Okla., Davis finished with four top 10s in his rookie season on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica in 2015. He finished T4 at the Lexus Panama Classic and T7 at both the 68th Avianca Colombia Open and the Honduras Open before recording his best finish of the season at the All you need is Ecuador Open with a T2.
Dominic Bozzelli, 24, is originally from Rochester, N.Y., but played collegiately at Auburn University, where he was honored as a two-time All-American for the Tigers and finished runner-up in the individual portion of the 2013 NCAA Championships.
He finished T64 at last year’s Final Stage of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament and spent most of 2015 gaining starts on the Web.com Tour as an alternate. With a solo fourth at PGA National this week, Bozzelli is now exempt through the third reshuffle on the Web.com Tour for the upcoming season.
Bozzelli made 10 starts on the Web.com Tour in 2015 and collected two top-25s, a T13 at the News Sentinel Open and a T16 at the Nova Scotia Open.
Q&A Transcript: Adam Svensson
Surrey, British Columbia's Adam Svensson claimed medalist honours and exempt status on the Web.com Tour for 2016 at the Final Stage of the Web.com Tour Qualifying Tournament on Sunday. The Golf Canada Young Pro Squad member earned an exemption into Final Stage thanks to his ninth place finish on the 2015 Mackenzie Tour - PGA TOUR Canada Order of Merit.
A select Q&A Transcript following his seven-shot victory is below:
Q: What was it like starting on the Mackenzie Tour last season and how did that help you?
A: It was huge. Finishing second-second to start the year obviously boosted my confidence there, and just being able to start from the bottom and work your way up was pretty important, and it was a good way to do it for me.
Q: Did you have any doubts about turning pro when you left Barry University?
A: No. My family and everyone around me was supportive of it. I have a great support system with my sponsors Freedom 55 Financial, JL, Titleist and Golf Canada. They’re all there for me, so I’m always backed up by them.
Q: What does this do for you now that you’re exempt all year? It takes a lot of pressure off you that other guys face.
A: It’s huge. I’m able to pick my schedule and where I want to travel to. This year I was booking my flights the night before or on the Monday, so I’m pretty happy to have full status now.
Q: What was today like? You got there with quite a bit of a lead, but did you feel any pressure?
A: Obviously you’re going to feel pressure. I was just trying to flight the ball down all day and stay out of trouble and hit it in the middle of the green like yesterday, and most of all enjoy it, because it’s tough to win out here or at any level. I had a lot of fun.
Q: Were you conscious of the leaderboard and paying any attention?
A: I usually follow the leaderboard and I knew I was around five, six, seven shots in the lead after every couple of holes. Ryan [Brehm and [Jason] Millard were right there, so I knew.
Q: So you’ll be playing on the Web.com Tour next season – do you have any goals yet?
A: Obviously goal is to win out there and get my PGA TOUR card, so I’m gonna shoot for that.
Q: You’re following in the footsteps of players like Daniel Berger, who spent two years at school, went to the Web.com Tour and now the PGA TOUR. Did you look at a player like that and think, ‘That’s a good gameplan for me?’
A: Yeah, if you look at players like Daniel Berger, Will Wilcox, who I know from my home club at Dye Preserve, they all went through that. I know a couple of guys that took that route and it’s a good route to go.
Q: Do you have any aspirations for the Olympics?
A: Yeah, that’s something I’d love to play in. I take pride in my Canadian flag, but it’s pretty hard – there are a lot of good Canadians on the PGA TOUR, but hopefully, you never know.