Pro golfers from the area go back to school


Coastal Carolina graduate Zack Byrd of Murrells Inlet barely missed out on the final stage of the European Tour Qualifying Tournament.

After advancing through the first stage, Byrd birdied four of his final seven holes in the second stage to get into a 10-man playoff for two spots and was unable to advance.

He shot a 4-under 67 in the final round at Las Colinas Golf & Country Club in Alicante, Spain for a 3-under 281 total.

“It’s a pretty tough one to swallow,” said Byrd, who played predominantly this year on the Sunshine Tour based in South Africa. “But I’ll dust off and play well in the European events I will get into coming up.”

Based on his Sunshine Tour results, Byrd said he is in the field for the European Tour’s $1.2 million Joburg Open in South Africa from December 7 to 10, and believes he’ll get into the tour’s $1.1 million BMW South African Open from January 11 to 14. He is currently among that event’s top six alternates.


Byrd anticipates playing on the Sunshine Tour and in some European Challenge Tour events in 2018. The Challenge Tour is Europe’s equivalent to the Tour in the U.S.

Coastal Carolina graduate Sebastian Soderberg of Sweden reached the final stage of European Tour Q-School but missed the cut to the final two rounds of the 108-hole event by eight shots. He shot a 6-over 292 through four rounds with scores of 71, 75, 74 and 72 at Lumine Golf Club in Tarragona, Spain.

Soderberg has split time between the European Tour and Challenge Tour for the past three years and will likely be predominantly on the Challenge Tour again in 2018.

After finishing in the top 35 on the Challenge Tour money list in both 2015 and 2016, he earned 16 starts on the European Tour in 2017 and made 10 cuts with one top-10 finish to earn 136,000 Euros and finish 165th on the Order of Merit. He finished 132nd in the 2017 Challenge Tour standings with six cuts made and about 8,500 Euros in nine starts.

In 2015, Soderberg finished third in the European Tour’s Nordea Masters event in Sweden to earn 71,000 Euros, the equivalent today of about $84,500.

Stateside, a pair of players with Grand Strand ties reached the second stage of the Tour Q-School but failed to reach the final stage.

Myrtle Beach resident Dan Obremski, who played at CCU from 2006-10, finished third at his first stage site to reach the second stage but failed to advance at Southern Hills Plantation Club in Brooksville, Fla., shooting a 1-under 287 to fall seven strokes shy of advancing to the finals.

Longtime PGA Tour member Tommy Gainey of Bishopville, attempting a comeback from a shoulder injury, also fell short of advancing at that site by eight shots.

Former Strand resident Tyler Light failed to advance from the second stage at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas, by eight shots with a 3-over 291.

Former South Carolina star Matt NeSmith, a past winner of the General Hackler Championship at The Dunes Golf and Beach Club, also failed to advance from the second stage.

Those who failed to advance through the first stage included Patrick Lundy of Little River, former Coastal Carolina and Socastee High player Easton Renwick of DuBois, Pa., CCU alumnus Alfredo Ruiz of Myrtle Beach, and CCU graduate Andrew Dorn of Cincinnati, who is spending the winter in Orlando.

The Q-School finals are December 7 to 10 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz. All final stage qualifiers will have at least partial status on the 2018 Tour.



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