Gibson shoots 23-under only to lose by seven, Tour status leaps forward

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HAYWARD, Calif. (July 31, 2016) – Rhein Gibson finished as the bridesmaid for the second time this month on the Tour, but this time, there wasn’t anything he really could have done about it.

The Oklahoma Christian Athletic Hall of Famer opened and closed the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae with an 8-under-par 62 and shot an incredible 23-under-par 257 in the tournament, but that amazingly was only good for second place -by seven shots.

Stephan Jaeger opened the tournament with a 58 – the lowest score ever posted in a PGA Tour, Tour or PGA Champions Tour event – and never let up, finishing at 30-under matching the Tour record total to par. His 250 aggregate total is the lowest in the history of any of the three major PGA tours.

Like everyone else, Gibson, who is from Linsmore, Australia, and now lives in Edmond, Okla., could only shake his head in wonder at what Jaeger accomplished. But Gibson still had plenty of reason to smile, as he moved from 73rd to 32nd on the Tour money list, enough to essentially guarantee him a spot in the four-event Tour Finals and a Tour card for 2017, if he needs it.

Gibson, who has a PGA Tour card for 2016 but has struggled a bit on that tour this year, could earn a card for that tour again by finishing in the top 25 in the Tour Finals, or if he can jump into the top 25 on the Tour’s regular-season money list.

The Tour’s regular season runs through August, with four more tournaments. Gibson probably will play in two of them, including the next event, the Digital Ally Open at Nicklaus Golf Club at LiosnGate in Overland Park, Kan., that will start Thursday.

Gibson lost in a four-man playoff in his previous Tour event, the LECOM Health Challenge in Clymer, N.Y., three weeks ago. He opened the Ellie Mae Classic – only his fifth Tour event in 2016 – with a 62, which left him four shots off the pace, and remained in the top five the rest of the way.

He played bogey-free golf Sunday and birdied five of the last seven holes to hold off Brandon Hagy and Xander Schauffele – who tied for third – by two shots.

The runner-up finish in the Ellie Mae Classic was his third overall on the Tour, as he also finished second in the 2015 Louisiana Open.

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.

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Ken MacLeod

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

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