SCOTTSDALE, AZ – Oklahoma City native Brandt Jobe (Westlake, TX) carded a 2-under-par 69, making birdie on two of his last four holes, to finish at 18-under-par 266 and win the 2015 PGA TOUR Champions National Qualifying Tournament, edging out Willie Wood of Edmond and two other former winners on the PGA TOUR by one stroke.
The tournament was contested on the Champions Course at TPC Scottsdale, a demanding course redesigned by Tulsan Randy Heckenkemper and one Wood has favored. He made just four bogeys in 72 holes.
Wood managed to jump up into a tie for second place with a birdie at No. 17. Over his last 36 holes, Wood, a two-time winner on the Champions Tour who had placed T4 in this event on this course in 2013, made just a single bogey.
Jobe, the 36- and 54-hole leader in the event, made just one birdie on the front nine and found himself drifting back into a group of contenders that included a surging Tom Byrum (San Antonio, TX) and streaking Jose Coceres (El Chaco, Argentina). However, Jobe regrouped down the stretch and his birdie at the 15th moved him back into a share of the lead with Coceres. After both players birdied the par-5 17th to remain tied at 18-under, Jobe earned medalist honors when Coceres bogeyed the final hole. The bogey ended the Argentine’s streak of bogey-free holes at 39 straight going back to the 14th hole in Round 2.
"I actually played pretty good today but I just didn’t make many putts. I thought I was still in pretty good shape at the turn but made bogey at No. 10 from the middle of the fairway with a 5-iron in my hand for my second shot. Luckily, I regrouped and hit quality shots coming in," Jobe said. "I did just a good enough job today and now I’m really looking forward to next year. It’s be awhile since I’ve been able to plan a schedule."
Byrum started the day seven strokes back of Jobe and, after making three birdies on the front nine, he reeled off five more on the inward nine, posting a bogey-free, 8-under 63 that equaled the best round of the event, and a 17-under-par total.
"I just went out today and tried to make as many birdies as I could. I got it going and had some good swing thoughts today. I had putted well all week so I knew if I could give myself some better scoring opportunities on the greens, I’d have a chance," Byrum said. "It was nice to put this kind of a round together."
Mike Grob (Billings, MT) bumped John Riegger (Henderson, NV) for the final exempt spot. After hitting his drive into the greenside bunker at No. 15, he made a nice up-and-down for birdie to temporarily tie Riegger who carded a 7-under 64 on Friday. A six-time winner on PGA TOUR Canada, Grob then made a clutch birdie at the 17th, getting up and down from underneath a tree left of the green. On his knees to his a third shot, Grob chipped to within three feet of the hole and made the putt to move in front of Riegger. He then two-putted from 20 feet at the final hole to secure his exemption.
Jobe earned $30,000 as the medalist at this year’s National Q-School. In addition to Riegger, among those players earning conditional status on PGA TOUR Champions next year were Gibby Gilbert III (Ooltewah, TN)/7th, the son of former PGA TOUR and Champions Tour winner Gibby Gilbert, Jean-Paul Remesy (St. Raphael, France)/8th, Stan Utley (Scottsdale, AZ)/9th, former U.S. Open champion Steve Jones (Tempe, AZ)/10th, Miguel Angel Martin (Madrid, Spain)/11th, and Chien Soon Lu (Taipei, Taiwan)/12th.
The remaining players who finished among the top 30 this week will be eligible to compete for spots in open qualifers at all co-sponsored events on the Champions Tour in 2016.