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Former Golf: Michael Smith heading to Arizona for Q-School Finale

Dan McDonald, The Advertiser, Nov. 29, 2017

Q-School finale

Lafayette’s Michael Smith will head to Arizona next week to try to insure his status on the Web.com Tour for the 2018 season.

Smith already has provisional status on that tour, since he was one of 22 players advancing out of the second stage of the tour’s “Q-School” in Plantation, Florida, three weeks ago. That qualified him to take part in the final stage set for Dec. 7-10 at the Whirlwind Golf Club’s Devils Claw and Cattail courses in Chandler, Arizona.

Smith, who has played in the U.S. Open and has been a regular in the Chitimacha Louisiana Open field, has a chance to earn major playing time on the Web.com Tour with a solid finish in the final stage. Approximately 140 players will be in the final-stage field, 108 who advanced through the second stage and nearly three dozen who were exempt to the finals because of finishes on the Tour money list or other tours.

A finish in the top third in that field would guarantee Smith getting into early-season fields when the tour season opens in January with five international events in the Bahamas, Panama, Colombia and Mexico. After that, good finishes will insure continued status through the tour’s “shuffles” for the rest of the season.

“Basically, the higher you finish, the better your chances of getting into events,” Smith said. “Then, if you play well, the shuffle’s not a big deal since the more you play well in tournaments, the more you’ll get into.”

Smith shot 71-66-71-68—277 over the par-71 Plantation course, making the finals field with a stroke to spare after missing out on a final-stage trip in seven previous attempts. Whatever happens in the finals, he holds no worse than conditional Tour status.

“It felt really good, a lot of relief,” Smith said. “I’d gone into the last round a few times in good position, and to be able to break through and play well was a really good feeling.”

Athletic Network Footnote by Dr. Ed Dugas.
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“Making the Turn” will return in February and will appear each Wednesday in the Daily Advertiser. Clubs, courses and individuals with information about local golf events may email Dan McDonald, editorial director at Golfballs.com, at danmcdonald@cox.net, FAX to (337) 857-8763 or call (337) 857-8754 and leave a message with phone number.