OC alumni Stark, Dalgliesh, Gibson try to advance pro careers

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OC alumni Rhein Gibson (left) and Oscar Stark (right) are in the top 500 of the World Golf Ranking.

OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 8, 2016) — One Oklahoma Christian golf alumnus is headed to the Final Stage of qualifying for the European Tour, while another saw similar hopes end for 2016 this past weekend and a third is preparing for a string of key events in his native country.

Oscar Stark, a member of OC teams that won the NAIA title in 2009 and 2011, finished 31st in the point standings this year on the European Challenge Tour, which is a step below the main European Tour. Stark, from Gothenburg, Sweden, finished tied for 15th in his most recent event, the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final at Mouj Golf in Muscat, Oman.

Stark has finished in the top 15 in three of his last four Challenge Tour events, including a fourth-place showing in the Hainan Open in China last month. By virtue of his high standing in points, he was able to bypass the first two stages of European Tour qualifying and advance straight into the Final Stage, to be held Nov. 12-17 at PGA Catalunya Resort in Girona, Spain.

It’s the second straight year in which the 28-year-old Stark will compete in the Final Stage, which will include 156 players. The top 25 finishers (plus ties) in the grueling six-round event will receive full playing privileges on the European Tour for 2017.

Stark will enter the tournament at No. 425 in the World Golf Ranking.

Another former OC standout seeking to advance through European Tour qualifying had his quest end this past weekend. Alastair Dalgliesh, a member of the Eagles’ National Christian College Athletic Association title-winning team in 2012, placed 66th among 80 players in one of four Second Qualifying Stage events.

Dalgliesh, from West Sussex, England, shot 73-75-79-74–301 in the tournament, which ended Monday at Las Colinas Golf and Country Club in Alicante, Spain.

Half a world away, one of Stark’s former teammates, Rhein Gibson, is gearing up for a series of big events in his native Australia.

Gibson, who now is based in Edmond, will play on the Web.com Tour next year after spending 2016 on the PGA Tour. He typically returns to Australia this time of year to play a handful of events. First on his agenda this week will be the New South Wales Open, which will start Thursday at Stonecutters Ridge Golf Club in Colebee.

He’ll then play in the Australian Open, set for Nov. 17-20 at Royal Sydney Golf Club, and then the Australian PGA at RACV Royal Pines Resort in Benowa on Dec. 1-4. He has enjoyed success in both those tournaments in recent years.

He was fourth at the Open in 2014 – earning a British Open berth in the process – and placed eighth in that event last year. He shot a course-record 64 in the second round of last year’s Australian PGA, also played at RACV Royal Pines Resort.

Gibson is 302nd in the latest World Golf Ranking, giving OC two alumni in the world’s top 500 players.

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Ken MacLeod

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