Nimmer captures points title, accepts RBC Canadian Open invitation; Pastore, Young also earn 2021 PGA TOUR starts
LOCALiQ Series Championship
DULUTH, Georgia—When the final round of the LOCALiQ Series began, David Pastore trailed Trace Crowe by a shot. Early in his back nine, Pastore had stormed ahead by four shots and looked to be cruising. By the end of the day, all he could do was watch to see if there would be a playoff. When Crowe missed a 12-foot birdie putt that would have left the two tied, Pastore had the title that had eluded him all season, capturing the season ending event by the narrowest of margins. The win pushed Pastore into the second spot on the season-long points list, and he earned a playing spot in the PGA TOUR’s 2021 Barbasol Championship by virtue of his victory. Crowe, a non-International Tour member, had a runner-up finish and a tie for fourth in only three Series starts.
After congratulating Crowe, Pastore walked off the 18th green at TPC Sugarloaf could only smile. “I was expecting him to make it, to have to play more golf,” Pastore said of watching Crowe’s effort. “He hit a great putt, but it just slid right by the hole, and obviously I was very happy.”
“It was about 12 feet,” said Crowe of his 18th-hole birdie putt. “I was playing it about a foot or so outside (the cup). I hit it perfect, and I think it just snapped a little bit harder. But two feet out, I thought it was dead center. It just broke off and buried on the left side.”
Moments earlier, Pastore had a chance to make Crowe’s putt moot, but Pastore’s birdie effort from 18 feet didn’t quite get to the hole. “It was a nice makeable putt. I hit it right on my line and [it] just came
up a little bit short, so obviously it would’ve been nice to make it,” Pastore said. “But two putts were good enough.”
The back and forth on No. 18 typified the duo’s battle all day. Crowe opened a two-shot lead early before a double bogey at the par-4 fifth knocked him back and giving Pastore his first lead—an advantage he ultimately never gave up. A turning point in the round came at No. 9. Although Crowe hit a solid drive, his ball nestled against the lip of a fairway bunker, forcing Crowe into an awkward stance.
His second-shot approach on the par-4 flew to the left, well short of the green. After getting on the green in three, he missed his par putt and did well to only bogey, making an eight-foot comebacker.
“It was kind of an unfortunate break there, especially since I had just come off a birdie at the eighth,” Crowe explained of his ninth-hole adventure.
Pastore went up by four on No. 10 when he parred to Crowe’s second consecutive bogey, but he gave a stroke right back with a bogey at 11. Crowe got back into the fray with an eagle at No. 13 when he drove the par-4 green and drained a 14-footer. That cut Pastore’s margin to one, but that’s as close as he could get. Both players finished with five consecutive pars.
“I really tried to just not force anything. I tried to stay patient, because I knew I still had the lead, and Trace had to come get me,” Pastore continued.
Pastore smiled when he thought of the ups and downs of this year, especially when he wasn’t sure he even would have a place to play once the International Tours either canceled or postponed their seasons. Pastore jumped at the chance to play in the LOCALiQ Series but admitted the year-end rewards
were a bit intimidating as he prepared to play.
“At first, only three (PGA TOUR playing) exemptions was a little daunting because you basically had to be one of the three best players,” he explained. “But obviously, I’m extremely happy to be one of those three now and to finish off the season with a win.”
Did you know David Pastore has Monday-qualified into four separate PGA TOUR events but has yet to make a cut? His Barbasol Championship appearance next year will be his first TOUR exemption. Pastore made his TOUR debut by Monday qualifying into the 2015 Travelers Championship. He played twice in 2019 (Farmers Insurance Open and The Honda Classic) via Monday successes and then saw action, again at the Travelers Championship, this past June at TPC River Highlands.
Final LOCALiQ Series Points Standings
• Points champion Bryson Nimmer shot his best round of the week, a 3-under 69 to move into a tie for 59th following his opening, 79-73 start. Thanks to his two victories (Alpharetta Classic and The Championship at Echelon Golf Club) and runner-up finish (The Invitational at Auburn University Club) earlier in the season. Prior to this week, Nimmer had mathematically secured the No. 1 position on the points list. He accepted a playing spot in the 2021 RBC Canadian Open.
• Carson Young placed third in points, but he earned an invitation to the Puerto Rico Open when No. 2 David Pastore won the LOCALiQ Series Championship and the Barbasol Championship invite that came with it. Young shot a final-day 74 but still managed a top-10 finish, tying for eighth.
• David Pastore was the picture of consistency this season. He played in all eight LOCALiQ Series tournaments, every score in his first 16 rounds under-par. He missed only one cut, with 18 of his 25 rounds in the 60s. He lost in a three-man playoff to Carson Young at the Jacksonville Championship, a playoff that also included Rowin Caron, and a victory was the only thing missing from his resume. He changed that this week with his stellar play, leading after the first two rounds, only one shot off the lead with 18 holes to play and then shooting a closing 71 that led to the win.
• With a 74-77 start, Brandon Matthews shot himself out of the tournament on the first two days. He acquitted himself well over his final 36 holes, though, putting together back-to-back 5-under 67s to finish at 3-under for the tournament and in a tie for 22nd overall.
• Hayden Shieh had an interesting season, with two runner-up finishes but no other top-10s leading into this week. He also missed three cuts. Shieh picked up his third top-10 of the season this week, shooting a final-round, 4-under 68 that left him tied for eighth. He completed the LOCALiQ Series season fourth on the points list.
• With a 6-under 66, Brad Gehl tied Justin Suh for low-round-of-the-day honors. Gehl’s performance included six birdies and 12 pars. Gehl opened 72-73-76 and was tied for 59th when the day began. He moved into a tie for 28th. Suh shot a front-nine 31 on his way to a 66 that earned him a tie for fifth—his best finish since tying for ninth at The Classic at Callaway Gardens. Suh played in only five LOCALiQ Series tournaments but had four top-10s. He also tied for eighth earlier this season at the PGA TOUR’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
• Brendon Doyle backed up his stellar third round, a 6-under 66, with a closing 68 that earned him a tie for fourth. The former University of Indiana golfer had five birdies and a bogey, ending the year 12th on the points list.
• The top international finisher was Norway’s Andreas Halvorsen, thanks to a 69-68 finish that allowed him to end the tournament alone in seventh place. Halvorsen closed his season with back-to-back top-10s. He was a runner-up to Justin Doeden at the Classic at The Club at Weston Hills last month.
• David Pastore joined six other players as winners on this year’s LOCALiQ Series. Besides Bryson Nimmer’s two wins, other champions were Stoney Crouch (The Classic at Callaway Gardens); Cooper Musselman (The Invitational at Auburn University Club); Carson Young (Jacksonville Championship); Toni Hakula (The Challenge at Harbor Hills); and Justin Doeden (the Classic at The Club at Weston Hills).
• The par-5 third hole yielded solid results for champion David Pastore this week. He made three birdies and a par there. The only time he didn’t birdie the hole was in the opening round. He was 4-under on the par-5s this week—oddly enough making no birdies but four consecutive pars at No. 18.
“The course was playing fairly difficult, the greens were very fast and the pins were tucked today. – David Pastore
“I really tried to just not force anything. I tried to stay patient because I knew I still had the lead, and he had to come get me.” – David Pastore
“It was funny that I would shoot 3- or 4-under every day whether the course was easy or hard, so it would be like where other players’ scores would go up and down but mine just stayed the same. It’s funny how I did the best on courses that where I shot the same scores as I did on the easier courses.” – David Pastore on his season
“I think my game is a little bit more suited to methodical type-playing, courses where you really have to think. The conditions were tough this week—colder and windier—and I think me being from the Northeast is definitely an advantage because I’ve played in these conditions so much.” – David Pastore
“I’m very happy with the year. I was very consistent, and that’s what I think really is what players always strive for.” – David Pastore
“I’m super excited for a new course, a new tournament. I’ve been lucky enough to Monday-qualify a [few] times on the PGA TOUR on most of the courses that I’ve known and played before. So maybe a new course will help me out.” – David Pastore
“Never been to Kentucky, nope.” – David Pastore on his thoughts playing in the Barbasol Championship
“I just didn’t play good today. I didn’t strike it well.” – Trace Crowe
“I started off -1 through 2, and I was like, “this is going to be like the last couple of days.” And then I hit a bad tee ball on 5, made double.” – Trace Crowe
“I played about as poor as I could have today, but I’m happy I hung in there.” – Trace Crowe
Final-Round Weather: Cold to start the morning turning pleasant in the afternoon. Temperature was 43 for the first tee time. High of 64. Wind S at 1-3 mph.
Nimmer’s dominant season results in points-list title
DULUTH, Georgia—Bryson Nimmer didn’t play particularly well this week at the LOCALiQ Series Championship, the closing event of the 2020 season. Shooting a final-round 71, Nimmer tied for 53rd, at 4-over par. It hardly mattered, though. For the bulk of the Series, Nimmer’s play was sublime. With two victories and a playoff loss in his first four starts, the Hilton Head Island, S.C., native built such an insurmountable points-list lead off of that stellar play that this week was a formality. Before anybody had teed off in Tuesday’s opening round, Nimmer had already secured the points title. No player could have mathematically caught him.
The Mackenzie Tour member and former Clemson All-American finished in the top position, 353 points ahead of David Pastore. With that distinction, Nimmer happily accepted the Series’ biggest prize: an invitation to play in the PGA TOUR’s 2021 RBC Canadian Open.
“It means a lot. The quality of guys out on this Tour is really, really strong, so anytime you can be at the top of something like that, you have played really well,” Nimmer said assessing what his season has meant to him. “It’s just been an awesome year. It’s been really cool to experience this and have the opportunity to play. Going forward it’s going to give me a lot of confidence.”
David Pastore jumped into the second position on the points chart with his victory Friday, but he earned his 2021 PGA TOUR start by virtue of his tournament victory. He accepted an invitation to the Barbasol Championship. Young finished third in points and picked up the second points-list invite. He’ll play in the 2021 Puerto Rico Open.
The exemptions into the Puerto Rico Open and the Barbasol Championship are courtesy of tournament organizers Global Golf Management. The RBC Canadian Open slot comes from Golf Canada.
“The Series—almost a get-ready-tour, with the nascent approach amidst today’s COVID environment—captured the essence of competition, and we were ready and willing to collaborate with the PGA TOUR and the LOCALiQ Series to provide unique playing opportunities at GGM-operated TOUR events,” said GGM’s Jeff Raedle. “We congratulate Carson and David, and we can’t wait to welcome these two players as our exemptions to the Puerto Rico Open and Barbasol Championship, respectively.”
Nimmer has played in two previous PGA TOUR events, both appearances coming at the Puerto Rico Open. He made the cut in the 2019 event while still an amateur, tying for 27th. He returned to Puerto Rico earlier this year, this time as a pro, only to miss the cut. Nimmer also received a sponsor’s exemption into the Safeway Open in September, but he had to withdraw prior to the tournament due to illness.