The final stage of qualifying school begins Thursday. Up until this past years, players were playing for a shot at a PGA Tour card. But with changes to the qualifying system, the 152 competitors who tee it up over six gruelling days at PGA West in La Quinta, California, are now playing for a spot on the developmental Web.com Tour. It's only the second time that a qualifying tournament has been held to feed players directly into the Web.com Tour - John Daly captured medalist honours in that four round event in January of 1990.
While everyone who qualified for the final stage has earned status of some sort, only the winner will earn full-status for the year while anyone inside the top 45 will get a chance to play regularly and maintain his status through the third reshuffle period. Finishing outside the top 45 will leave you with conditional status and very few chances to get into many tournaments.
Here's a look at the 11 Canadians who are in the field:
Yohann Benson (Montreal) - A winner on the NGA Tour and four time winner on the Quebec PGA Tour, he made five of nine cuts on PGA Tour Canada in 2013 but failed to finish higher than a tie for 23rd. His best season on PGA Tour Canada was 2009 when he posted three top-10 results. In between playing, Benson has also found time to caddie for fellow Canadian Adam Hadwin and PGA Tour player Russell Knox.
Cam Burke (New Hamburg, Ont.) - A two-time Canadian Amateur champion, he captured his first professional win on the developmental eGolf Tour by overcoming a double bogey start and surviving four straight bogeys to finish off the round which was played in fierce wind and rain. Burke finished ninth on the tour's money list, chalking up four more top-10 results.
Devin Carrey (Surrey, B.C.) - A two-time winner on the Adams Tour, he finished fourth on the tour's money list playing in just five of the 15 scheduled events. Played in eight of the nine PGA Tour Canada events in 2013, posting one top-5 result and two top-20 results. He finished 40th on the Order of Merit to secure his status for next year.
Albin Choi (Toronto) - The 2013 second-team All-American at North Carolina State finished 52nd on PGA Tour Canada’s Order of Merit after turning pro earlier this year. He captured low amateur honours at the 2012 RBC Canadian Open.
Max Gilbert (St-Georges, Que.) - Went from having no status on PGA Tour Canada to winning the TOUR Championship of Canada and finishing in the top 20 on the Order of Merit which allowed him to skip right through to second stage qualifying. While he played just one season at the University of Laval, he helped them win the 2012 Canadian University/College Championship.
Derek Gillespie (Oshawa, Ont.) - A two-time winner on the Canadian Tour before it became PGA Tour Canada, Gillespie has fought back from career and life threatening injuries suffered in a car crash in 2011. In 2012, he made every cut and posted a pair of top 10 results. This past year he made just three of nine cuts with just a single top 10 result. In 2009, he won Golf Channel's Big Break reality series.
Justin Shin (Maple Ridge, B.C.) - A graduate of the GolfMecca Junior Academy in B.C. which has also produced such promising Canadian juniors as 2013 Canadian Junior champion Kevin Kwon and 2013 B.C. Amateur champion Charlie Hughes. As an amateur at New Mexico State he captured the prestigious Northeast Amateur in 2012 in a three hole playoff for the biggest win in his college/amateur career. Played in three PGA Tour Canada events as a pro this year with his best result a tie for 18th.
Roger Sloan (Merritt, B.C.) - Made just five of 13 cuts in his rookie campaign on the Web.com Tour in 2013 with a pair of top 10 results. He finished 87th on the Tour's money list which is only good enough for conditional status so he's playing this week to try and improve his priority ranking for next year.
Nick Taylor (Abbotsford, B.C.) - The former No. 1 ranked amateur in the world and 2010 Ben Hogan Award winner at the University of Washington, finished seventh on PGA Tour Canada's Order of Merit in 2013. He had five top 10's and missed just one cut in nine events.
Riley Wheeldon (Comox, B.C.) - The 2010 Big East Player of the Year at the University of Louisville, he finished runner-up on PGA Tour Canada's Order of Merit this year which granted him conditional status on the Web.com Tour. He's elected to go through q-school in an effort to upgrade his chances of getting into more tournaments next year. Won once on PGA Tour Canada and picked up two more wins on the NGA Tour
Eugene Wong (North Vancouver, B.C.) - The 2010 Jack Nicklaus Award winner as the college golf player of the year, he won twice in his first four pro events on PGA Tour Canada last year. This year he had a pair of top 10 results in nine starts while finishing 23rd on the Order of Merit.
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