Pro needs miracle to avoid Q-School playoff. What happened next was better
Michael Wright stood off the 18th green at TPC Scottsdale‘s Champions course and was speechless.
“Long,” Wright said to PGA Tour Champions cameras when asked how he’d sum up his career to this point. “And a challenge. But we’re here, so…”
The 49-year-old has been a journeyman on the PGA Tour of Australasia for the last quarter century, never picking up an Official World Golf Ranking-recognized victory and never rising higher than 468th in the World.
He’s 10 years removed from his best and most significant worldwide finish, a fifth-place showing at the 2013 Australian PGA Championship.
But Friday, it all culminated in Scottsdale.
Wright began the final round of PGA Tour Champions Q-School in 10th place and made a move, climbing up eight spots in the final round thanks to six birdies through 17 holes. The top five players at the end of the week earn full PGA Tour Champions status for 2024.
However, he blocked his tee shot at the 72nd hole into the desert. His chip out didn’t get out of the sand.
Wright was in jeopardy of falling from safely earning his card to a merciless four-for-two playoff for the final spots. He needed to get up-and-down and the hole was still nearly 100 yards away.
Then, the unthinkable happened.
Wright’s third shot from the desert, still on the wrong side of the cart path from the fairway, didn’t just find the putting surface, it went in.
He and his caddie both screamed and hugged each other when they realized what had happened and Wright did a full 360˚ fist pump, nearly throwing his wedge across the fairway in the process. As he started to process what had happened, he slowly started walking down the fairway to retrieve his ball.
Wright was soon chased by his caddie and while the looper shouted some obscenities, what was clear is that he told Wright he was “in.”
“In” of course meant Wright finished in the top five, earning his 2024 PGA Tour Champions card after finishing solo second at 15 under.
“Yeah it was one shot, but it was 25 years of hard work,” Wright told the PGA Tour Champions.
He became emotional in realizing his accomplishment, crouching by the 18th green, covering his face with his hands.
Wright was one of four Australians to claim their 2024 PGA Tour Champions cards Friday. Longtime PGA Tour veteran Cameron Percy was the medalist for the week at 20 under. Steven Allan finished tied for third while David Bransdon survived a three-for-one playoff for the final spot.
The other card went to the United States’ Shane Bertsch who was tied with Allan at 14 under.
Major League Baseball legend John Smoltz came in solo 73rd, at 22 over for the week, last place among those who completed 72 holes.