AZ Amateur champ Ken Tanigawa qualifies for Champions Tour
Ken Tanigawa pulled off a rare feat, qualifying as an amateur for the Champions Tour
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (December 1, 2017) - Arizona Amateur champion Ken Tanigawa
of Scottsdale has qualified for the PGA Champions Tour for the 2018 season, finishing tied for fourth in the PGA Tour Champions Tour School at TPC Scottsdale.
Tanigawa, a reinstated amateur who has won two of the last three Arizona Amateurs, shot 17-under, posting four straight under-par rounds including 64-63 in rounds two and three. He opened and closed the tournament with a 1-under 70 to finish inside the top five.
The top-five finish was key for Tanigawa, as it gained him fully exempt status for the 2018 Champions Tour season. Tanigawa took the final fully exempt spot, holding off Brian Henninger (Wilsonville, OR) by two shots.
Tanigawa and Henninger were tied going into the final hole, but Henninger’s chances ended when his tee shot found water which led to a bogey, his third on the back nine.
Tanigawa will remain an amateur until the start of the 2018 season.
After playing professionally for 11 years in Australia, Asia and Japan, Tanigawa appeared briefly on the Web.com Tour in 2003 before regaining his amateur status. He has won numerous state titles in his home state of Arizona, and has also competed in the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 2013, 2014, and 2017.
Tanigawa's finish was the best by an amateur in the Champions Tour School since Jim Roy (Syracuse, NY) finished tied for fifth in 2009.
Mike Goodes (Reidsville, NC) turned pro before Q-School in 2007 and then finished tied fifth to gain entry to the Champions Tour in 2008. He has been a mainstay ever since, winning once and earning over 5 million dollars over the last decade.
Tom Byrum (San Antonio, TX) eagled the first playoff hole to edge out Tommy Tolles (Hendersonville, NC) for the win on Friday. Kent Jones (Albuquerque, NM) and Tim Petrovic (Austin, TX) were the other players earning fully exempt status for the 2018 season.
The only other amateur in the field was Tim Hogarth of Northridge, CA, who has enjoyed a long and illustrious amateur career in Southern California. Hogarth withdrew after rounds of 72-73.