Dunlap qualifies for PGA Tour

Twenty-two times Scott Dunlap has tried to qualify for the PGA Tour in his 27-year pro golf career, and he has been successful three times.

The latest was two weeks ago at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., for the 48-year-old former Sarasotan, who now lives in Duluth, Ga.

Dunlap saved his best round for last in the grueling six-round test to secure a PGA Tour card for 2012.  He posted a clutch 4-under-par 68 and finished tied for 18th in the PGA Tour's Qualifying Tournament. He finished at 10-under for six rounds (70-72-71-70-71-68 --- 422).

He entered the final round, knowing he had to improve on his position, 29th after five rounds. The top 25 and ties would receive tour cards for next year. As it turned out, Dunlap was one of 27 qualifiers to receive one.

"They say it is the worst job interview of all time," said Dunlap by phone from La Quinta. "I thought I had a shot. I was feeling good and playing well. At 48, I know my clock is ticking."

His mind is also ticking. It has been nine years since he last played on the PGA Tour and is excited about getting another chance.

"I plan on playing everything I can get in," he said about the 2012 season.

Dunlap knows what to expect. He played on the PGA Tour in 1996-97 and 1999-2002. He never won a tour event, but finished third three times, including The Players Championship at Sawgrass. When he wasn't playing the PGA Tour, he competed on the Nationwide Tour from 2001-2011.

In 2000, Dunlap shot a 66 in the first round of the PGA Championship and trailed Tiger Woods by one stroke going into the final round.  He soared to a 75 and ended up tied for ninth. It was probably his biggest disappointment as a pro.

On the other hand, he knows what winning feels like. His resume includes nine international victories and two Nationwide Tour titles.  As an amateur, he won two City of Sarasota Men's Championship in the early 1980. He is a graduate of Sarasota High School and the University of Florida.

Last summer, Dunlap finished 113th on the Nationwide Tour and won $36,148. However, the year did include one career highlight, shooting a 60 in the second round of the Midwest Classic.  

Known as a good ball striker, especially with his irons, Dunlap's putter has been suspect.

"This past week, I played very solid," he said.  "I just tried not to mess up and allow my weakness to hurt me."

He just doesn't know how to quit.

"I hope to be playing the PGA Tour when I am 54-55 years old," he said.  "If Tom Watson can almost win a major championship at 60-years-old, I should be able to play on the PGA Tour."


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