By Art Stricklin
MCKINNEY – Former Oklahoma State golf all-conference competitor Trent Whitekiller cruised to an easy win in the second stage at Web.com qualifying at the TPC-Craig Ranch course Friday.
Whitekiller, from Sallisaw, has spent the last four years playing various golf mini-tours since graduating from OSU in 2010, but his six-shot win marked his first time advancement to Web.com finals December 11-16 at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Tulsa native Brad Elder, a former University of Texas All-American, also advanced to the finals with a T9 finish at 283. Talor Gooch, a former Oklahoma State player from Choctaw, fell just one shot short with a 286 total, 2-under-par with a final round 71. Former University of Tulsa golfer Logan McCracken also failed to qualify despite a final round 69 for a 288 total.
“This is my fourth year to go to Q-school and my first year to make finals and it came on the same course I missed by a shot two years ago, so it’s pretty sweet,” Whitekiller said after the Friday win.
He entered the final round at the chilly and windy North Texas private course one shot out of the lead, but fired a final day 65, his low round of the week by two shots to earn medalist honors. He finished with a four day total of 272, seven-under-par.
Dallas’ Cody Gribble was alone in second place at 70-278. Jamie Sindelar, the son of PGA Tour winner Joey Sindelar, lead a group tied for third at 280 including Tim O’Neal who is attempting to be one of the few American-born black players on the PGA Tour at any level.
After a birdie on the par 4 fourth hole and a bogey on No. 6, Whitekiller birdied the long par 3 seventh hole for the third time in four days and then chipped in for 15 feet off the green of another birdie on No. 8.
“That really got me going,” he said, highlighting a streak with birdies on holes 9-11, making it five straight, burying the Craig Ranch field and giving him an easy time on the back nine.
“I was just thinking fairways and greens. It was just like another good week in Stillwater for me,” he said.
What made it extra special was his dad, Matt, drove down from Oklahoma for the four-day event along with some family friends.
“It was good to have somebody to hang around with. I’ve been working hard, hitting it great and it was a really good week for me.”
At the second stage in Kingwood, Texas, two Oklahoma golfers advanced to the finals stage. Abraham Ancer, who played his college golf at OU, and Edmond’s Rhein Gibson, who played at Oklahoma Christian College, tied for fourth at 289, Ancer shot a final day 71 while Gibson had a closing 72 to both finish at one-over-par.
Robby Ormand, the 2014 winner of the Oklahoma Open, and Jenks’ Chris Worrell failed to qualify by two and three shots respectively.
No Oklahoma golfers advanced from the qualifying site in Brookville, Florida as former OSU standout Pablo Martin tied for 30 and Oklahoma City native Blake Trimble was T50.
Both Texas qualifying sites took the low 18 scores and ties while the Florida site took 19 low scores and ties. Complete results here.