Gillis, 42, finds the magic at TPC Boston
NORTON, Mass. – Tom Gillis’s first PGA Tour event was the 1993 Buick Open. The fact that he missed the cut that week would be a harbinger for things to come for the 42-year-old journeyman from Pontiac, Mich.
Gillis would go on to play in 69 events on the PGA Tour between 1993 and 2009, and he made 31 cuts.
Only twice did Gills play a full season on the PGA Tour – in 2003 when he finished 139th on the money list and in 2005 when he again lost his card after finishing 156th on the money list.
But that was then and this is now.
The now for Gillis starts with three top 10s, seven top 25s and 17 made cuts in 2010. He earned $1,070,017 in 2010, which eclipses his total career earning on the PGA Tour and Nationwide Tours combined.
And of course there was this week, where he recorded his best finish ever on the PGA Tour when he shot consecutive 65s over the final two rounds of the Deutsche Bank Championship to finish T-5.
“I sat around for three months in winter in Michigan in ’07, trying to decide what I wanted to do and decide if I had the commitment level to come back with no status,” Gillis said. “Three months of winter up there, that kind of made it a little easier for me.”
As he stood wearing a hat with no logo, it was easy to understand where Gillis has come from, but his future looks bright.
His finish at TPC Boston moved him from 92nd to 48th in the FedEx Cup playoff list, well within the top 70 needed to make the BMW Championship, the last qualifying event for the Tour Championship two weeks later in Atlanta.
“I figured 18th or 15th or better,” Gillis said of the number he originally thought he needed to make it to Chicago next week. “I was pretty calm about it, whatever. I’ve done stuff like that before in 2005. I had a medical carryover from 2003 and had to finish 18th or better and got into Torrey Pines on a sponsor exemption, finished 11th and did it. So I’ve been through stuff like that.”
Now Gillis will need another good week to make it into the Tour Championship. With his card secured for next year, Gillis is comfortable with where the chips may fall going forward.
“I’ve had some weekends where I’ve been close, top 5s going into the last few holes and I just felt more comfortable today,” Gillis said of the difference. “I think the more you put yourself in the situation the easier it comes and I’m getting more comfortable.”