Pat Bates wins Shreveport, Tour card

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Pat Bates’ victory at the Buy.com Shreveport Open Oct. 21 was the payoff.

The price? A couple of years of physical therapy and plenty of dedication.

Bates played in only five events in 1999 before neck surgery in April ended his season. The surgery left his right leg numb and left arm weakened. It took him five days to walk again and three months to open and close his hand.

Last year playing on a medical exemption, he finished 57th on the Buy.com Tour money list. A lack of distance was the culprit and was rectified with an aggressive offseason program to regain his form.

“It’s been a long two years,” said Bates. “I’ve done so much therapy and worked so hard to get to this point.”

Bates shot 67 Sunday to finish with a tournament-record 20-under 268, one shot ahead of second- and third-round leader Brian Kamm. Bates, who won for the second time this season, earned $76,500 to move to No. 5 from No. 9 on the money list with only the Tour Championship remaining.

It will be Bates’ second stint on the PGA Tour. He finished 206th in earnings in 1995.

“I tried to not think about the money list all year and just tried to put myself in position,” said Bates.

Starting the day one shot behind Kamm, Bates took the lead with a birdie on No. 6, a position he never gave up.

While falling short of winning the second career title, Kamm was able to secure a spot in this week’s $600,000 Tour Championship. Starting the week 55th on the money list, he needed to maintain that spot to qualify for the season-ending event in Prattville, Ala. The $45,900 he made moved him to 29th in earnings.

“I’m not disappointed,” said Kamm, who closed with 69. “I’m proud of the way I played under pressure. At the beginning of the week, if you told me I would shoot 19-under par and not win, I would have said you were full of baloney.”

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