The second stage of PGA Tour Q School is now finished, with veteran Jim Rutledge, Regina’s Kent Eger and former child star Richard Lee, all making it through to gaining at least conditional status on the Nationwide Tour. Interestingly Chris Baryla, once considered one of the top prospects in Canadian golf but who spent most of last year with a significant back injury, missed making it back to the Nationwide Tour by a single shot.
In told, seven Canadians made it through to the final round, including: David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., Jon Mills of Oshawa, Ont., Calgary’s Dustin Risdon and Brennan Webb of Huntsville, Ont.
But it is Lee who is the itnriguing story. He played in a US Amateur as a 14-year-old and his father was once roommates with KJ Choi. Lots of stories list him as hailing from Toronto, but he’s actually from BC, though he’s lived in the US since 2005.
Lee qualified for the US Open at Oakmont in 2007 and then turned pro — a questionable decision since he had no place to play. He’s now 18.
Lee and his dad rubbed some people the wrong way with their brash comments — that the boy would win on the Nationwide Tour before he was 18, for example. Golfweek has a short profile on him from 2007, and The National Post ran a profile of him this past summer when he was playing in Mississauga.
Apparently Lee’s brazen attitude has been tempered somewhat:
“Cockiness is not a bad thing,” said Lee, who grew up in Vancouver, but whose family moved to Chandler, Ariz., in 2005. “But lately, I’ve been really thinking about the past and I can admit that I’ve been a little too cocky out there. I’ve actually been going to church a lot now. I’m a Christian. That got me thinking a lot about how I was in the past. And, these days, I’m trying to be more modest.”
So who were the big surprises? Wes Hefferman didn’t make it through though he’s been hotly tipped as this country’s best prospect to move forward for some time. Similarly one-time wonderkid Derek Gillespie is heading back to the Canadian Tour.