CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) — Two-time PGA Tour winner Keith Clearwater won the Champions Tour’s national qualifying tournament Friday, closing with an even-par 72 in windy conditions at TPC Eagle Trace for a three-stroke victory over Lee Rinker, Frankie Minoza and Phil Blackmar.
The 51-year-old Clearwater finished at 16-under 272 to earn the first of five fully exempt spot on the 2011 tour. He shot a 9-under 63 on Thursday.
“It feels good to finish something and get it done,” Clearwater said. “It was difficult today playing in this wind and every shot was hard; maybe five to 10 shots harder than yesterday. It meant having to make good choices and make a lot of 3-, 4-, and 5-footers. It was a tough day, so I was very pleased to make the putts when I needed to and keep that distance I had most of the day. This allows me to make my schedule for next year and play every week, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Minoza shot a 67, Blackmar had a 68, and Rinker closed with a 72.
John Morse earned the fifth and final fully exempt spot, beating Robert Thompson and Roger Chapman with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff. Morse missed a 4-foot par putt on the final hole of regulation to drop into a tie with Thompson and Chapman at 12 under.
Chapman, Thompson, Mark Mouland, Jim Rutledge, Steve Haskins, J.L. Lewis and Fred Holton earned conditionally exempt status. The rest of the top 30 finishers and ties will be eligible to compete for spots in open qualifiers at all co-sponsored events.