PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 1, 2015) – Rhein Gibson entered the Web.com Tour Championship this week wanting a good finish to ensure his earning a PGA Tour card for 2016. Through one round, results look promising for the Oklahoma Christian Athletic Hall of Famer.
Gibson recorded eight birdies while firing a sizzling 7-under-par 63 at TPC Sawgrass-Dye’s Valley on Thursday and seizing the first-round lead in the $1 million event.
Ryan Spears of Del City, who also needs a strong finish to ensure his card for 2016, shot 73 in the first round and was struggling early in the second round today.
Gibson – who grew up in Linsmore, Australia, and now lives in Edmond, – was one shot ahead of Lucas Glover, Sam Saunders and Oscar Fraustro and two shots ahead of two others.
Playing a morning round and starting on No. 10, Gibson reeled off four birdies on the back side, then did the same on the front side, with the only blemish a bogey at the par-3 No. 5. Amazingly, none of the eight birdies came on a par-5 hole.
“You can go back and look at my career,” Gibson said. “I’ve shot some low numbers. I’m not afraid to go low. That’s a good thing for this tour, anyway.”
The Web.com Tour Championship is the last of four events in the tour’s postseason and is open to the top 75 players from the tour’s money list, numbers 126 to 200 in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings and non-members who earned enough money during 2015 to have finished in the top 200 if they been eligible to receive points.
With $128,953 in earnings, Gibson finished at No. 33 on the Web.com Tour money list during that tour’s regular season, eight spots shy of where he needed to have already secured a 2016 PGA Tour card. But the top 25 postseason finishers also receive cards, and Gibson entered this week at No. 18 on that list with $33,942. The winner’s purse this week will be $180,000.
He has five top-10 finishes so far this year, including a ninth-place showing last week at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship at the Ohio State University Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio.
“Any time you finish in the top 10, especially on a tough golf course, in a finals event, of course you’re going to gain confidence,” Gibson said. “I would love to get my (PGA) Tour card, but at the end of the day, I know I’ve got a job on the Web.com Tour next year. A lot of people have said to me that it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to play the Web.com Tour next year, just to get another year of experience.”
While at OC, Gibson won four individual tournament titles while helping the Eagles to a pair of runner-up finishes and a pair of third-place team showings at the NAIA Championship. Shortly after his graduation in 2008, he won the Oklahoma state amateur title and was named as the Oklahoma state amateur player of the year in 2008.
He’s most famous for a memorable round in May 2012 at River Oaks Golf Club in Oklahoma City, during which he set a world scoring record by shooting a 55. He also qualified for the 2014 British Open and played in a memorable third-round grouping with Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth.
“I’m trying to make a career out of golf,” Gibson said. “I feel like I’m on the right track, and I’ve had a decent year. But it would be nice to finish it off here and play the big show next year.”