A fifth-place tie at the Barclays has given Graham DeLaet many achievements all at once. The former Weyburn golfer was the best Canadian on the course, as he jumped 62 spots up to rank 44 on the FedExCup, and is now ranked as the best Canadian golfer by the Official World Golf Rankings.
The Barclays was the first round of the Professional Golf Association playoffs. The top 125 golfers on the FedExCup qualify for the Barclays. DeLaet was able to burst the bubble by earning $281,000 with his fifth-place tie, and now advances to the Deutsche Bank tournament.
DeLaet said that the infamous Black Course was “a great course and a tough test. It’s one of the longest we play.”
“There are a million things that can be said I guess, but first of all is that I am very proud of his accomplishments and dedication,” said Norm DeLaet, Graham’s father. “The public as fans are really awesome, but I sometimes wish they could see the work and daily rituals he has to go through before he gets to the tournament play.”
“We get to see the fun times on the weekends that he plays, and that is the rewards for all, including Graham,” said Norm.
A glance at the scoreboard showed that DeLaet had a better finish than other well-known golfers on the PGA Tour. David Hearn, the other Canadian on the course, finished tied for 10th, and both Tiger Woods and Phil Michelson were tied for 38th.
Both Hearn and DeLaet are playing in ‘true Canadian’ style, as both are sporting playoff beards during competition. “We have fun with it. We’re Canadian so it’s pretty much standard in any playoffs,” said DeLaet.
The first round of the Black Course was a difficult one for DeLaet. He had two bogeys on the back nine, then shot three back-to-back bogeys on the front nine. He shot two birdies on holes five and seven, but had another bogey on hole nine. DeLaet’s final score after round one was 75, four-over-par.
“I started the day kind of rough and then hit some good shots and started making some key putts and managed to put together a pretty solid round,” said DeLaet.
The pressure was on for the second round, where DeLaet started with four birdies and two bogeys during the front nine. He shot two more birdies on the back nine to finish at 67, four-under-par. After two rounds, DeLaet was even and it was good enough to make the one-over-par cut line for the tournament.
“I didn’t really adjust anything,” said DeLaet. “I just started making better shots.”
DeLaet had a good front nine for round three, hitting birdies on holes one, four and seven.
Then on the back nine, he had back-to-back bogeys on holes 13 and 14, and then a double bogey on hole 18. DeLaet’s final score was 72, one-over-par.
During the final round, back-to-back bogeys on holes four and five put DeLaet behind the eight-ball. But he played his final 13 holes at eight-under, shooting six birdies, an eagle on hole 15, and no more bogeys.
DeLaet finished the round with 65, six-under-par, which was his best of the tournament and the best performance of the day.
DeLaet started his PGA Tour career in 2010, and was ranked the PGA Tour rookie for that season. He suffered difficulties with his back late in 2010, and had to have surgery for a herniated disc which meant that DeLaet was unable to golf for most of the 2011 season.
“After his back surgery and one-year layoff it was very difficult for us all to know if he could maybe ever play again at this level, and the time he has put into it this past year is now paying him due rewards,” said Norm. “He has played some of the toughest courses on the planet this year, and has shown he can play now with anyone.”
Not only did DeLaet move enough spots to qualify for the Top 100 at the Deutsche Bank championship, but his current standing is good enough to place for the Top 70 for the BMW championship.
To qualify for the PGA Tour championship, the final stage of the playoffs, DeLaet needs to move up at least 14 more spots, to be in the Top 30.
DeLaet is concentrating on the Deutsche Bank championship and is looking forward to playing at TPC Boston.
As for the other playoff rounds, he said, “I am not really thinking that far ahead, but it’s nice to know that I have a pretty good chance to be there based on where I sit on the current FedEx Cup points list.”
“So few athletes seem to find their ending goal in any sport to play out their dreams at the highest level,” said Norm.
“We all feel fortunate and happy Graham has done so, and in saying that, we thank all who have adopted Graham in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, and Canada. It is so rewarding for him to remember where he has come from and share what excitement he can with everyone.”
DeLaet has golfed in 21 tournaments on the PGA Tour this year. He made the cut 16 times, with three top-10 and five top-25 finishes, with total earnings of $1,015,151.
His best showing of the 2012 PGA Tour was tying for fourth at the Zurich Classic.