Graham DeLaet achieved two goals during the Labour Day weekend; he qualified for his first President’s Cup and also earned a spot in the Tour Championship, the last playoff tournament for the FedExCup.
DeLaet was third place at the Deutsche Bank Championship, earning $544,000. His FedExCup playoff standings jumped to fifth place, two spots above where he was last week, after tying second at The Barclays.
Weyburn fans, and long-time supporters of DeLaet, were very happy for Graham’s success.
“It was an amazing accomplishment; he will only improve by the quality of his play in the next events,” said Brett Berkner, golf pro at the Weyburn Golf Course. “It is not a surprise that he qualified for both events. He has hit the ball great all year.”
DeLaet has strong rankings in both greens in regulation percentage, where he is ranked third in the PGA tour, and total driving rank, where he is first. “He has been driving the ball amazing all year, and finally his putter is getting hot,” said Berkner.
“It was one of his big dreams to make the special events of the PGA Tour, and I am so excited, so happy for him that he has achieved these goals,” said Marie Grohn, who taught DeLaet as a junior golfer when he played at the Weyburn Golf Course.
“As a junior golfer, he always wanted to do his best. He was not an ugly competitor, and he was focused. But when he was done golfing, he would be down-to-earth at the end of the day,” said Grohn. She sees a lot of those qualities with DeLaet still, as he competes on the PGA Tour.
“He will win an event eventually; look at how close he was in the last two events,” said Grohn. “He works hard at his game and he doesn’t give up.”
“It can’t be much better for Graham, until he gets his first win,” said Chuck Pachkowsky. “Next year will be very busy for him now because he will have so many decisions and invitations to other events. He always had the goal of making the President’s Cup, following the footsteps of Mike Weir, and now he has achieved that.”
The feeling of accomplishment must be “indescribable”, said Pachkowsky.
“Earlier in the year he has some disappointments, one of those was missing the cut at the RBC Open.”
“It is absolutely amazing, right now DeLaet is ranked 35th in the world, and fifth overall in the FexExCup, plus the fact that he has made over $2.6 million; it just gets better and better,” said Blair Pateman.
“In my opinion, he is very close to winning his first PGA Tour tournament. He’s got a legitimate chance, just like anyone else in the finals to win the FedExCup.”
“He just needs a weekend with a hot putter, like that 62 he scored on Sunday,” said Pateman. “I was watching on Monday when the putts weren’t falling for him, and sometimes that is the nature of the game.”
The President’s Cup will be a high level of competition for DeLaet, and a different type of golf game since he will play as a team, instead of an individual. “There is lots of pressure, but I know he will represent the International Team well,” said Grohn. “He will prove that he can hang with the big guys.”
“No doubt about it now, Graham is no longer just a Weyburn boy, or a Saskatchewan boy, or even a Canadian boy — he is an international boy,” said Pachkowsky. “Making the President’s Cup is a big feather in his cap. He has become a world-renowned individual now.”
“The President’s Cup will be an entire new level for DeLaet,” said Pateman.
“The people who he is golfing with are elite golfers in the world. He is in good shape for next year with his status, especially since he will qualify for all the majors and all the World Golf tour events.”
Two wild-card picks for the President’s Cup will be announced today, Sept. 5. The U.S. and International team will play against each other in Ohio on October 3 to 6.
During competition at the Deutsche Bank Championship, DeLaet started on the front nine, where he bogeyed hole 10, then back-to-back birdies on holes 12 and 14, a bogey on hole 15 and then a birdie on hole 17.
Then during the front nine, DeLaet scored an eagle on hole two, birdies on hole four and seven, and ended with a bogey on hole nine. He was 67, four-under-par for the round.
DeLaet started strong for round two, with three back-to-back birdies on holes two, three and four. Then he stayed on par for the rest of the front nine, and during the back nine shot a birdie on hole 12, bogeys on holes 14 and 17 and then a birdie on hole 18. DeLaet’s score for round two was 68, three-under-par.
His best round of the tournament was round three, when DeLaet tied his career low with a 62, that was one stroke off the course record. This was during the third round of the tournament, when he opened with a bogey and scored 10 birdies in his next 17 holes.
“It was an incredible day,” said DeLaet, during a PGA Tour interview. “It’s one of those days that doesn’t come along as often as you’d like.”
For the final round, DeLaet shot a bogey on hole three, then scored a birdie on hole nine. He stayed on par for most of the back nine, finishing with back-to-back birdies on holes 17 and 18. His round four score was 69, two-under-par.
For the second year in a row, DeLaet is sporting his playoff beard during the PGA playoffs. “I’m Canadian, that’s what we do in the playoffs, you don’t shave until you’re done.”
The third round of the PGA playoffs is the BMW Championship, which runs Sept. 12 to 14. Then the Tour Championship runs Sept. 19 to 22.
There will be a full month for DeLaet to prepare for the President’s Cup in September.