The six day marathon known as PGA Tour Q-School is set to begin on Wednesday.
Among the field of former major champions (Lee Janzen, Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, David Duval), Ryder Cup participants (Jeff Maggert, Boo Weekley), former phenoms (Ty Tryon) and sons of former golfing greats (Sam Saunders, grandson of Arnold Palmer and Travis Wadkins, son of PGA Champion Lanny Wadkins), nine Canadians will be looking for one of 25 full time Tour exemptions.
Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C. headlines the Canadian contingent among the 173 hopefuls who will tee it up at PGA West's Nicklaus Tournament and Stadium Courses. Hadwin had a pair of top-10 results and made the cut in all five of his PGA Tour starts this year, with the highlight being a fourth place result at the RBC Canadian Open in Vancouver. Even though his almost $450,000 in earnings would have placed him 145th on the money list - the top 150 go straight through to final qualifying - Hadwin was destined to go to the second stage because he did not earn enough to qualify for special temporary member status. The PGA Tour amended its rule which in turn fast-tracked the B.C. golfer into this week's final stage.
Stuart Anderson of Sooke, B.C., is a four-time Canadian Tour winner making his seventh attempt at Q-school but this is the first time he's made it all the way to the final stage.
Mitch Gillis of Williams Lake, B.C., also making his first apperance in the final, barely made it through the first stage before sailing through the second stage. Richard T. Lee of Vancouver, who won his first stage qualifier last month and finished tied for seventh earlier this month, rounds out the B.C. contingent.
James Love of Calgary, the 2007 rookie of the year on the Canadian Tour, breezed through the first two stages of Q-school while Ryan Yip of Calgary finished comfortably in the top 10 in each of his first two qualifiers.
Brad Fritsch of Manotick, Ont., had four top-10 results on the Canadian Tour this year, where he missed just one cut in 12 events. He too played solidly through the first two stages of Q-school, finishing second in October and a tie for sixth earlier this month. This will be his third appearance at the final stage, his first since 2007.
Richard Scott of Kingsville, Ont., a three-time Canadian Amateur champion, is making his first appearance at the final stage since turning pro back in 2006.
Matt McQuillan of Kingston, Ont., one of the Cinderella stories a year ago, is back to try and regain his Tour status this week. After earning $582,000 in his rookie campaign, McQuillan has a slight advantage over the rest of his Canadian counterparts in that he has conditional status for next year. However, he'll be drawing on his experience from a year ago to try and secure that full time exemption once again.
McQuillan will be looking to emulate Masters champion and fellow Canadian Mike Weir, who first earned his PGA Tour card in 1997 only to be forced back to Q-school after his freshman year because he didn't earn enough money. The Bright's Grove, Ont., golfer went out and won the 1998 Q-school finale and has never been back since.
As McQuillan found out, securing your status at Q-shool is no guarantee of success. Of the 25 players who earned their tour card in 2010, only eight managed to retain their full-time status by finishing in the top-125 of the money list in 2011.