SYDNEY, Australia (Nov. 29, 2015) – It wasn’t quite the finish he’d hoped for, but Oklahoma Christian Athletic Hall of Famer Rhein Gibson still posted an impressive eighth-place showing in the Australian Open, which ended Sunday at The Australian Golf Club.
Gibson, who entered the final round in sole possession of third place, shot a 4-over-par 75 on Sunday to finish at 1-under 283 for the tournament and drop a few spots on the leaderboard. More importantly, he fell just two shots shy of again qualifying for the British Open, a feat he accomplished by finishing fourth in the 2013 Australian Open.
This year, though, he has a consolation prize – a spot on the PGA Tour, which he earned with a successful postseason on the Web.com Tour this fall. That means he’ll have other chances to qualify not only for the British Open, but other major tournaments as well.
Gibson – who’s originally from Linsmore, Australia, and now lives in Edmond, – acknowledged a bit of fatigue after shooting a 3-under 68 in the third round from what has been a hectic 2015, much of it spent toiling on the Web.com Tour, working toward the goal of the PGA Tour card.
Since earning his card in October, he’s played in five PGA Tour events, making the cut in his most recent outing, the RSM Classic in Sea Island, Georgia, a week ago. He went straight from Georgia to Australia to play in his native country’s biggest golf event.
"This is the most I’ve ever played in my career in a year," he said Saturday. "This is probably my 32nd or 33rd event, probably 20 of the last 22 weeks. So yeah, I feel pretty wrecked. But it’s hard not to get up to a tournament like the Australian Open in Australia."
He said he’s proud of the hard work he’s put in to make the PGA Tour.
"Yeah, absolutely," Gibson said. "I’ve never been given a handout. I’ve never been given sponsoring rights. I’ve worked my butt off. I’m kind of reaping the rewards from that, all the hard work I’ve put in. It took me maybe a little bit longer than what I wanted, but I’m pretty happy with what I’ve done and I feel like I’m doing the right thing."
He began the Australian Open with a 1-over 72 on Thursday, then fired consecutive 68s on Friday and Saturday to move into contention before his Sunday struggles. He finished seven shots behind the winner, Matt Jones.
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, 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 qualified for the 2014 British Open at Royal Liverpool, where he made the cut and played in a memorable third-round grouping with Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth.
Gibson was inducted into the OC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014.