Reeder ties for second, Hale, Mabrey also advance in First Stage qualifier

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By Ken MacLeod

On the Tuesday after Viktor Hovland won the Tour Championship, he was back at Oak Tree National playing with a contingent of the young professionals there eager to emulate his accomplishments.

Tyson Reeder, the powerful lefty who split his collegiate career between Oklahoma State and Arkansas, is one of those who played with Hovland as he prepared for the Ryder Cup  and would love to be competing against him on the PGA Tour at some point soon,

Reeder took a positive step in that direction this week, finishing tied for second in the First Stage Qualifying Tournament that concluded Friday at Muskogee Golf Club. Reeder shot a 3-under 67 in the final round after rounds of 71-66-67 to finish at 9-undr and tied with Wil Gibson of Jonesboro, Ark., just one shot behind winner Luis Gerardo Garza of Mexico.

This will be the second time advancing to second stage for Reeder since completing his college career at Arkansas in 2021. He would love to make it to the final stage and earn a Korn Ferry Tour card for 2024, or better yet, one of the five PGA Tour cards that will also be available.

Also advancing Friday were former University of Oklahoma golfer Blaine Hale of Richardson, Texas, who tied for fourth at 7-under, and former University of Tulsa golfer Matt Mabrey, who tied for ninth at 5-under.

Reeder, 26, has been competing mostly on the All Pro Tour this summer and came in to the week sharp.

“You’re always nervous when it comes to Q School, it’s only once a year,” Reeder said. “I came in with the mentality to give it my best and I can live with the result, whether it’s first place or last place. It’s a long week and you really just try to make sure that bogey is your worst score. It was windy all week and I did a good job of course management, just putting the ball in the right spot.”

Reeder said his preparations at Oak Tree National helped immensely with his game and confidence. Not just playing with Hovland, but Austin Eckroat, Rhein Gibson, Chris Gotterup, Quade Cummins and other talented pros.

“Sometimes when you’re playing in a Monday qualifier or on the APT it can seem so far away,” Reeder said. “But playing with all those guys helps and I can compare my game and see it’s not that far away. Obviously I’ve still got a lot of work to do and have to get better. But in pro golf you’re looking for that one good week, that one putt to fall. Getting through First Stage was the first step for me and I did a pretty good job this week. Not perfect, but I’m happy with how I played.”

(Coming Monday, we talk more with 31-year-old Matt Mabrey about the ups and downs of his long pursuit of a PGA Tour card).

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Ken MacLeod

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