A trio of local golfers took the next big step toward a career playing on the PGA Tour last week at the PGA Tour Canada Qualifying Tournament at Orange County National Golf Center in Winter Garden, Florida.
Max Buckley and Mike Miller won exempt status through the first six events and an exemption into the final stage of the Web.com Tour Q-School, while Mike Ballo, Jr., earned conditional status and an exemption into the second stage.
Buckley, who plays out of Westchester Country Club, tied for seventh in the tournament with a 270 total that saw three rounds in the 60s, including a third-round 62 that tied the competitive course record set by Frank Licklieter II during the 2010 PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament. You may recall Buckely’s name in the headlines throughout 2013, when he won the Arcola Cup, the Mittelmark Invitational, Anderson Memorial, and the NYC Amateur Championship.
Miller, a Knollwood member and son of head pro Bob Miller, was two strokes back at 272 and tied for 11th. Miller won the 2014 New York State Open, his first professional title. He also won the 2013 Wilson Cup and was MGA Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012.
Ballo just missed exempt status with a 274 total for the tournament. The Woodway Country Club player from Stamford, Connecticut, won the 2012 Westchester Open and had two wins in 2012 on the Golfslinger.com Tour.
A total of 48 players have earned PGA Tour Canada status for the year. Toronto’s Albin Choi carded a 25-under total to earn medalist honors and fully exempt status.