David Byrne of Essex, Ont., is having a cup of coffee on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica this week.
The 25-year-old is making his debut on the new Latin American circuit at the Arturo Calle Colombian Coffee Classic in Cali, Colombia.
Byrne’s pro career is still in its infancy. It began with a bang last year when he won the Golf Channel’s Big Break reality show. As a rookie, he played this year on the Canadian Tour, making the cut in six of his eight appearances. His best finish came in his backyard at the Windsor Roseland Charity Classic. He also reached the second stage of the PGA Tour’s qualifying tournament, but missed advancing to the final stage this week by three shots.
The Colombian start is to be Byrne’s final competition of 2012. It begins Thursday.
If he makes the cut, he’ll be the first Canadian to cash a cheque on the fledgling third-tier tour, which began this year and is owned by the PGA Tour. Glenn Preciado, Billy Houle and Gilles Gagnon have played Latinoamerica events this year under the Canadian flag but didn’t reach weekend play.
The Latin tour could become more popular with Canadians next year though. Its 2013 schedule of events is expected to dovetail with the tournaments on the new PGA Tour Canada (formerly Canadian Tour). The PGA Tour, which also owns the Canadian circuit, envisages many players making a full-year schedule by playing in Latin America during the spring and fall and in Canada in the summer, with the top performers from each advancing to the second-tier Web. Com Tour.
GREAT EIGHT: Canada has eight entrants in the final stage of the LPGA Tour’s qualifying tournament this week. That’s the same as powerhouse South Korea and more than any other country, with the exception of the United States, which has 66. France and Japan have five apiece.
The tour says 25 countries are represented in the five-round final, at which 20 full-time cards for 2013 are up for grabs. The next 25 finishers will also earn membership but with a lesser status. The first round started Wednesday.
The Canucks in the Q-school field at Daytona Beach, Fla., are Rebecca Lee-Bentham of Toronto, Sue Kim of Langley, B.C., Stephanie Sherlock of Barrie, Ont., Seema Sadekar of Burlington, Ont., Kirby Dreher of Fort St. John, B.C., Izzy Beisiegel of Saint-Hilaire, Que., Samantha Richdale of Kelowna, B.C., and Ashley Sholer of Hamilton.
The Short Game blog is a compilation of small news stories, statistics and analysis from the wide world of golf, with a focus on Canadian content. Jeff Brooke has written about golf for The Globe and Mail since his first assignment at the 2007 Masters.