BC’s Macdonald Looking To Make More Q-School Magic

Stuart Macdonald

Vancouver's Stuart Macdonald, Shown Here Competing In The Pacific Coast Amateur, Will Be Looking To Punch His Ticket To The Web.com Tour On A Full-Time Basis. (Photo/PCGA)

By Brad Ziemer/British Columbia Golf

Qualifying schools are supposed to be golf’s ultimate pressure-cookers, but so far they haven’t fazed Stuart Macdonald. The 23-year-old rookie pro from Vancouver has sailed through the first and second stages of the Web.com Tour qualifying school to earn a spot in the finals.

“Getting through first and second stage isn’t exactly the easiest thing to accomplish,” Macdonald said in an interview. “So to get to the finals and have a chance to play on the Web.com Tour is good. I am excited to get there and see what I can do.”

The Q-School finals go Dec. 7-10 at the Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz. Macdonald, along with fellow British Columbian Seann Harlingten of West Vancouver, Ryan Yip of Calgary and Albin Choi of Toronto are the Canadians in a field that is expected to number about 155 players.

Macdonald, who plays out of Point Grey Golf & Country Club, tied for 11th at a first-stage Q-School in Arizona in October and then finished seventh at a second-stage site two weeks ago in Texas. Earlier this year, he tied for ninth at a Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada Q-School. So he seems to have this Q-School thing down pat.

“I think there is more pressure in Q-School than a regular tournament because obviously you are playing for your life,” Macdonald said. “You are playing for the chance to get on a tour and play full time. So there’s a bit more pressure, but at the end of the day it’s still just a golf tournament and you have to get out there and shoot some good scores. “I have tried to go into the Q-Schools with the mindset of let’s go and try and win this thing. And that is the mindset I am going to try and have going into finals and we’ll see what happens.”

Macdonald turned pro this past spring after a collegiate career at Purdue University in Indiana and some time spent on Canada’s national amateur team. He started slowly on the Mackenzie Tour this past summer, but made three of his last four cuts and finished 78th on the money list.

“It’s just about being comfortable in pressure situations and really learning how to make birdies,” he said of the adjustment from amateur to pro golf. “That’s really what you have to do in pro golf. You have to shoot good scores and that is kind of what I’ve figured out.”

The top 45 and ties at the Q-School finals get exempt status on the 2018 Web.com Tour. “Realistically, if you don’t finish better than 55th or 60th you’re not going to get any starts,” Macdonald said. Harlingten learned that last year. He tied for 72nd at last year’s Q-School finals and got just one Web.com Tour start in 2017.

Macdonald is expecting lots of low scores on the Devil’s Claw and Cattail courses at Whirlwind Golf Club. “I think they are more resort-style courses, so there will be lots of birdies,” he said. “I’m sure someone is going to shoot 22- or 25-under for four rounds. I’m okay with that. I feel in the last six months I’ve kind of figured out how to make some birdies and I don’t mind tournaments that require lots of birdies.”