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TRANSITIONS CHAMPIONSHIP

Ty Harris, Bob Heintz qualify for PGA tournament

PALM HARBOR — Two Tampa Bay area players earned their way into the Transitions Championship by the slimmest of margins.

In Monday's qualifier at Fox Hollow in New Port Richey, Tampa's Ty Harris and Dunedin's Bob Heintz finished their rounds at 1 under par. That put them in a five-way playoff for two spots.

Harris and Heintz birdied the 10th hole to gain entrance to the PGA Tour event, which begins today at Innisbrook.

"When you shoot a 1 under in a Monday qualifier, somebody's going to beat you,'' Heintz said. "But it held up. They left the door open, and Ty and I walked through.''

Harris, 27, grew up in Tampa beating balls around Emerald Greens Golf Course in Carrollwood. He is a 2001 Berkeley Prep grad, won the 2002 Florida State Amateur Championship and played golf at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

Since 2006, Harris has been on the Nationwide Tour and the Canadian tour, trying to work his way to the PGA Tour. He will spend most of this season on the Nationwide Tour. Harris is in his first PGA tournament since the 2007 St. Jude Classic.

"I haven't been playing very well, but it's still early in the season for me,'' said Harris, who has made one cut in four Nationwide tournaments this year.

"There was a break in the Nationwide schedule, so I decided to see if I could Monday qualify here. It's going to be great playing in front of the home crowd.''

Heintz, 39, will spend most of this season on the Nationwide Tour after failing to finish in the top 125 on the 2009 money list. He has not made a cut this year in four tournaments.

"I've been waiting for the tide to turn,'' Heintz said. "Maybe this is a good sign.''

Fresh off a win: Derek Lamely is the only player in the field who won in last weekend's events. Lamely won the rain-delayed Puerto Rico Open on Monday, his first tour victory and the first by a rookie since 2008.

"I went through like six time zones and 15 golf courses or so in the past two months,'' Lamely said. "I was a little beat up and tired.''

Lamely, 29, earned his way onto the PGA Tour after finishing fourth on the Nationwide Tour money list last year. He has played in eight tournaments before this week and has made four cuts.

Although he is a rookie, Lamely did play at the Innisbrook 2008 tour event, which was then called the PODS Championship; he made the cut. He arrived here Wednesday after spending Tuesday at his home in Fort Myers. The plan was to relax and go fishing, but that didn't work out.

"I tried to, but it was too cold, and my phone wouldn't stop ringing,'' Lamely said.

Calcavecchia out: Mark Calcavecchia withdrew Wednesday due to blisters on his feet. Calcavecchia won the PODS Championship in 2007. He was replaced by Spencer Levin.

Pro Am: The teams of Trevor Immelman, Sean O'Hair, Jerry Kelly and Stephen Ames tied for first in the pro-am with scores of 11-under 60.

Ty Harris, Bob Heintz qualify for PGA tournament 03/17/10 [Last modified: Thursday, March 18, 2010 12:44am]

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