Four Aussies earn Champions Tour status for 2024

A two-stroke leader overnight, Percy took medallist honours by five strokes with a closing round of 4-under 67 for a four-round total of 20-under par.

Percy will have to wait until he turns 50 on May 5 to join the circuit at which point three other Q School graduates from Australia will have joined the tour.

Medallist at First Stage a week ago, Queenslander Michael Wright shot 66 in the final round to finish outright second to Percy, Steve Allan’s even-par 71 was enough to earn a share of third while David Bransdon’s 4-under 67 saw him edge Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin and American Wes Short for the fifth and final card.

Runner-up at First Stage last month, Percy was all set to skip Final Stage of Champions Tour Q School in favour of a return to PGA TOUR Q School.

At the urging of other players with whom he holds in high regard, Percy experienced a change of heart before this week got underway.

“I wasn’t going to come (here); I was exhausted,” Percy said.

“I was actually going to get ready for the PGA TOUR’s Q-School next week. I was told to go to Q-School here and get my card. It’s so much better than having to Monday qualify. So, I did… and it has all paid off.”

Medalist by FIVE strokes at Q-School’s Final Stage.That any good? Once he turns 50 in May, @cameronpercy1 could be a force on the Champions Tour. https://t.co/xZN9ORImjF

Percy’s career-best finish on the PGA TOUR (220 total starts) was a playoff loss at the 2010 Shriners Children’s Open.

Of 12 total top-10 finishes on TOUR, three came in the 2021-22 campaign, his career-most for a single-season.

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Following his 8-under 63 in Round 3, Wright stood on the tee box of the 72nd hole on Friday 4-under and 14-under overall. Seemingly, he was a lock for a top-5 spot.

“I hit what was my worst drive all week at No.18, down into the desert,” Wright said.

“I had a terrible lie on the rocks, leaving me with no option but to try and hack a 5-iron. It went, maybe, 30 yards, but stayed on the dirt on the desert.”

But then, from 122 yards, Wright was right on target, holing his third shot for a highly unlikely birdie to cap off a round of 5-under 66. As such, the 49-year-old secured solo-second at 15-under 269.

Wright looks to join full-time once he hits turns 50 on February 21, 2024.

Less than two months after turning 50, Allan followed rounds of 68-66-65 with a final-round even-par 71 to lock up the No. 4 spot among the top-5 who received fully exempt status.

Yet to make a start on PGA TOUR Champions, Allan brings with him a solid past which spans a variety of Tours worldwide.

In addition to two international titles, including the 2002 Australian Open on home turf, Allan’s best of nine PGA TOUR top-10 finishes, both runner-up showings, came in 2003 and 2004. In 164 Korn Ferry Tour starts from 2003-17, Allan’s best finish, a T2, came in 2015 in Colombia.

Allan made his way to Final Stage this week by virtue of a T13 finish in First Stage at Soboba Springs.

Like Allan, Bransdon turned 50 in October and has already tasted success on the PGA Legends Tour.

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Bransdon posted scores of 69-70-65-67 to claim the fifth spot at 13-under 271.

The top-5 finishers (no ties) become fully exempt into all open, full-field events for PGA TOUR Champions in the 2024 season.

In addition, Nos. 6-30 are eligible to apply for PGA TOUR Champions Associate Membership for the 2024 season, affording them the opportunity to enter 2024 PGA TOUR Champions weekly event qualifiers.

That is the category that Greg Chalmers and David McKenzie find themselves in after finishing tied for eighth and tied for 12th respectively at Final Stage.

Cameron PercyBirthdate: May 5, 1974 (49)Hometown: Chelsea, AustraliaPGA TOUR starts: 220Best finish: P2, 2010 Shriners Children’s OpenPGA TOUR Champions starts: 0Best finish: N/A

Michael WrightBirthdate: February 21, 1974 (50)Hometown: Gympie, Queensland, AustraliaPGA TOUR starts: 2Best finish: MC in bothPGA TOUR Champions starts: 0Best finish: N/A

Steve AllanBirthdate: October 18, 1973 (50)Hometown: Melbourne, AustraliaPGA TOUR starts: 214Best finish: P2, 2004 Barracuda ChampionshipPGA TOUR Champions starts: 0Best finish: N/A

David BransdonBirthdate: October 28, 1973Hometown: Melbourne, AustraliaPGA TOUR starts: 2Best finish: MC in bothPGA TOUR Champions starts: 0Best finish: N/A

Photo: Courtesy Cameron Percy