Saturday, November 22, 2014




Scores »

Champions Tour Q-School
Winter Garden, FL - Panther Lake GC

1Frank Esposito-1F-11
2Grant Waite-6F-7
T3Jeff Coston-6F-6
T3Jerry Smith-1F-6
5Rod Spittle-2F-5
Complete Leaderboard »
WINTER GARDEN, Florida – Frank Esposito is a New Jersey man, but he sure can play golf in the state of Florida.
Just one week after winning the Senior PGA Professional Championship at PGA National Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Esposito played lights out in Central Florida at Orange County National Golf Centre and Lodge.
Esposito took medalist honours at Champions Tour Qualifying School, highlighting a group of five golfers that earned eligibility to play on the tour next season. Esposito, 51, finished at 11 under, four strokes ahead of the next-best competitor.
"I caught fire for two weeks, I really did. I played eight rounds under par down here and that's really unbelievable," said Esposito, who works as the head professional at Brooklake Country Club in Florham Park, New Jersey
 "I was playing OK and I took some time off, about three weeks. To come down and do what I did, I'm almost impressed with myself."
The early 1980s Rutgers standout – he was a two-time honorable mention All-American – used his strength and accuracy off the tee to separate himself from the pack. Esposito played the five par 5s in 4 under during his final round at Orange County National's Panther Lake course.
"I drove the ball well today. The putter was a little shaky. I was a little nervous, but I really hit the ball well all week," said Esposito.
He carded a 1-under 71 Friday, capping off a streak of eight straight rounds under par that dates back to his performance at PGA National last week. Esposito was also one of 20 PGA professionals to compete in the 2014 PGA Championship last summer.
"He is such a great player," said Jerry Smith, who played alongside Esposito Friday. "He just hits the ball really solid almost every time. In Frank's game, I don't see too much of a weakness there. I think he should be able to do some good things next year."
Grant Waite nabbed the second card, finishing the week at 7 under. Waite surged into the second spot with a round of 6-under 66 in windy conditions Friday, with his only bogey on the day coming at the 18th.
Jeff Coston, who tied for third at 6 under, followed a similar path. Coston was at even par heading into Friday's final session, but managed to make seven birdies en route to a round of 6-under 66.
But Smith who really pulled out the dramatics to earn a spot on tour. Smith was at 1 over par in his final round with three holes remaining on the day after leaving several birdie chances on the green. He made after for that by sticking irons to 2 feet and less than one foot on 16 and 17, respectively, making birdies on two of his last three and tying for third at 6 under.
Smith's tee shot on the par-3 17th looked like it would drop for an ace.
"When it landed it did look really good," said Smith, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz. "That would have made 18 a lot easier."
Taking the final spot was Rod Spittle, a native Canadian. Spittle finished at 5 under for the week after carding a final-round 2-under 70.
The top-five finishers earned fully-exempt status, while the next seven players will be conditionally exempt. Here is a list of the top 12 competitors:
  1. Frank Esposito 11-under 277
  2. Grant Waite 7-under 281
  3. Jeff Coston 6-under 282
  4. Jerry Smith 6-under 282
  5. Rod Spittle 5-under 283
  6. Jim Rutledge 4-under 284
  7. John Riegger 4-under 284
  8. Jeff Freeman 3-under 285
  9. Joel Edwards 3-under 285
  10. Rick Gibson 2-under 286
  11. Cesar Monasterio 2-under 286
  12. Doug Rohrbaugh 1-under 287
  13. Craig Thomas1-under




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