Gibson celebrates birthday with tie for sixth in Tour debut

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PANAMA CITY, Panama (Feb. 1, 2015) – It was quite a 29th birthday on Sunday for Oklahoma Christian Athletic Hall of Famer Rhein Gibson.

Playing in the opening event of the 2015 Tour season, the Panama Claro Championship, Gibson recorded birdies on his first five holes while shooting a final-round 4-under-par 66, which vaulted him into a tie for sixth at Panama Golf Club.

Gibson – a native of Linsmore, Australia, who now lives in Edmond, Okla. – finished the tournament at 4-under 276, seven shots behind the winner, Matthew Goggan.

A top-10 finish seemed improbable after Gibson’s opening-round 75 on Thursday, but he rebounded with a 64 on Friday before shooting a 71 on Saturday.

For a time on Sunday, he was on a record pace. He completed the front nine in a sizzling 7-under 28 before cooling off a bit down the stretch, finishing the back nine 3-over.

Gibson earned fully exempt playing status on the Tour – the primary path for players to reach the PGA Tour – by finishing fourth at the Tour’s Q School in December. At the end of the Tour season, the top 25 finishers on the tour’s money list are guaranteed PGA Tour cards, and Gibson now stands sixth on that list after earning $19,563 in the Panama tournament.

Gibson was a four-time NAIA All-America first-team selection (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008), a three-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete and a three-time NAIA All-Tournament pick (2005, 2006, 2008). He won four individual titles – the third-best total in school history–and helped the Eagles to a pair of runner-up finishes and a pair of third-place team showings at the NAIA Championships.

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Ken MacLeod

Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source

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