2005: Champions Tour - Kuramoto tops Champions class
Massy Kuramoto didn’t panic after the first round of the Champions Tour Qualifying Tournament finals.
Kuramoto, a 30-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour, shot 79 to open Q-School Nov. 16, but five days later he was on top of the leaderboard and holding a 2006 card for the over-50 circuit.
Kuramoto, of Hiroshima, Japan, finished the 108-hole event at 3-under-par 429 after shooting 79-72-69-69-70-70 over the PGA of Southern California Golf Club Champions Course in Calimesa, Calif.
Kuramoto, Kirk Hanefeld, Joe Ozaki, Keith Fergus, Scott Masingill, Bill Longmuir and Rick Karbowski earned fully exempt status for the Champions Tour in 2006.
“It was a long six days and I am very tired,” said Kuramoto, who won $45,000. “It feels good to finish. I am very happy.”
This marked the second time Kuramoto has been medalist at a national qualifying tournament. In 1992, he was medalist at the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament to earn a spot on the PGA Tour in 1993.
“I’m so tired,” Kuramoto told the Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise. “I’m tired of golf!”
Karbowski, who tied for 33rd at last year’s Q-School, made a 10-foot birdie putt on the final hole to get to 3-over 435. He then had to wait it out before he officially earned the seventh spot.
“The biggest putt of my life, even though, at the time, I had no idea,” Karbowski told the Press-Enterprise. “I have to pinch myself.”
Of the seven graduates, Fergus brings the most experience to the 2006 season. Fergus finished 37th on the money list last year with $455,699. He tied for second at the Toshiba Senior Classic in March and had two other top 10s in 23 events. Fergus, a three-time PGA Tour winner, finished 51st in Champions Tour earnings in 2004 playing on conditional status.
Former major league pitcher Rick Rhoden earned one of the eight conditional exemptions for 2006. Rhoden, who shot 5-over 437, earned the 12th card. Also earning conditional status were Jack Ferenz, Chris Starkjohann, Danny Edwards, Jim Chancey, Katsuyoshi Tomori, Mike San Filippo and Eduardo Romero.