Heffernan takes top honours at Final Stage Q-School

Will Heffernan has taken out top spot in the Final Stage of ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia Qualifying School with a score of 5-under 283 on the Open Course at Moonah Links.

After strong winds blasted the seaside course from rounds one to three, Heffernan made the most of benign conditions on Friday to post a final round of 2-under 70 and take a one-stroke victory over David Micheluzzi, Aaron Wilkin and John Lyras in second place.

Heffernan now holds Category 9 Tournament Exemption on the PGA Tour of Australasia for the 2021/22 season that will see him receive automatic entry into all events on the Tour including the Australian PGA Championship and Australian Open.

“It feels really good. I played solid all week. I holed some nice putts and just stayed patient out there. It was pretty windy the whole week so I just hung in there,” Heffernan said.

“I knew I had to be steady all day. I made an early birdie then I went pretty quiet for a while, just playing it safe and then made one on the back-nine so I was pretty happy.”

In 2020 Heffernan spearheaded the charge for the Australians at Asian Tour Qualifying School, finishing second to earn an exemption for the 2020 season that was later cancelled due to COVID-19.

Looking to the year ahead the Victorian has the welcome challenge of building a schedule filled with both local and overseas tournaments when the PGA Tour of Australasia resumes in August.

“I actually went over to the UK and Italy and played on the Alps Tour,” said Heffernan of his year in 2020.

“I will just try and play as many tournaments as I can; try and balance my schedule between this (Australasia) and Asia and hopefully they match up and I can play a few of the bigger ones.”

The Tour’s marquee tournaments including the Australian PGA Championship, Australian Open, Vic Open and New Zealand Open are among the events Heffernan will eagerly anticipate.

“I’m really excited for them. They’ve always been a dream since I first started in golf so I’m very, very excited,” he said.

Queensland’s Aaron Wilkin (70), Victorian David Micheluzzi (70) and New South Welshman John Lyras (71) completed Qualifying School in a tie for second place at 4-under 284 to lead the players finishing from 2nd to 30th position including ties to earn a Category 13 exemption for the 2021/22 season.

Players with a Category 13 exemption will receive exemption into most events for the 2021/22 season with those who finished higher boasting a greater likelihood of being exempt into all Tour events.

Amongst the list of the top-30 players and ties rising star Jed Morgan (-2) lead the charge for the amateurs, finishing tied for fifth ahead of Lawrence Curtis (+3), Edward Donoghue (+3), Jackson Bugdalski (+7) and Lawry Flynn (+8) who finished birdie, birdie to sneak in on the number.

European Tour winner Sam Brazel, who finished in a tie for fifth place alongside Morgan, will return to the Tour alongside regulars Jason Norris (-1), Damien Jordan (+2), Peter Cooke (+4), Peter Wilson (+4), Matt Jager (+5), James Marchesani (+7) and Aaron Pike (+7) who regained status for the season ahead.

A Tour rookie in the 2020/21 season, Matias Sanchez narrowly secured his Category 13 status by making an eagle on 18 to finish tied for 30th at 8-over.

In addition to results from the Final Stage of Qualifying School at Moonah Links, a special New Zealand Qualifying School was held in conjunction with last week’s Muriwai Open where Luke Brown and Luke Toomey were successful in gaining Category 13 tour cards for 2021/22.

Players from positions 31 to 50 are entitled to become Full Tournament Members for the 2021/22 season but will not be allocated an exemption category.

View the Final Stage Qualifying School results at pga.org.au.

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