Date: December 04, 2007

Rumford, Lutterus gain US cards

The Australian contingent on next year&aposs US PGA Tour has swelled by two after Brett Rumford and David Lutterus secured their playing cards on a tense final day at Qualifying School. West Australian Rumford, in particular, showed that his game will be suited to the lush American courses after finishing outright second on 25-under. Barring an unparalleled disaster on the final day, Rumford&aposs card was always safe after rounds of 66, 70, 68, 65 and 68 saw him enter the sixth and final round on 23-under. Although three bogeys in his last 18 holes was hardly the perfect way to go about it, he off-set those setbacks with five birdies to card a solid two-under 70. Lutterus&apos bid was a much more nervous affair, with two bogeys on the last three holes leaving him with a two-over 74. That had the 22-year-old South Australian sweating before finally learning he&aposd qualified without a stroke to spare – tied for 23rd on 14-under. Joining the two Aussies will be New Zealander Tim Wilkinson. With the top-25 plus ties being granted entry to the prestigious tour in 2008, Wilkinson came into the sixth round at the Crooked Cat course right on the bubble at equal 25th. He started in ideal fashion with a birdie at the par-5 first, then managed three more alongside a solitary bogey to turn in three-under 33. That meant he was inside the qualifying mark and only needed to maintain his composure down the final stretch. With eight pars and a birdie at the 14th, the 29-year-old did exactly that and moves up from the second-tier Nationwide Tour where he struggled to make an impact in 2006 and 2007. His six-round total of 16-under 416 started shakily with a 73, but steady improved to record 70, 68, 70, 67 before a nerveless performance on the final day. Countryman Michael Campbell, who is exempt via his 2005 US Open win, is spending more time on the European Tour and with other interests so Wilkinson will often find himself as the lone Kiwi during 2008. The tournament was led from start to finish by American Frank Lickliter II, who was always likely to book his Tour card after phenomenal opening 62s over the first two days. Lickliter, a winner of two tournaments on the PGA Tour at the 2001 Kemper Open and 2003 Chrysler Classic of Tucson, trailed off somewhat with rounds of 68, 72, 68 and 71 but his six-day total of 29-under 403 was enough for a four-stroke victory. There was disappointment for Australian pair Greg Chalmers and David McKenzie, who missed the cut-off by a solitary stroke to tie for 27th spot. Steve Allan had a closing 69 to come in tied for 42nd at 11-under, one shot ahead of compatriots Jarrod Lyle and Andrew Bonhomme, and New Zealand&aposs Grant Waite. Kiwi Brad Iles ended up tied for 106th, while Australians Gavin Coles, Wade Ormsby and Brad Lamb were tied for 116th, 129th and 141st respectively.