Monday qualifying for a PGA Tour event requires a ton of intestinal fortitude. Just ask David Pastore, who carded a five-under 67 in late January at McCormick Ranch Golf Club, site of the Monday qualifier for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. What did that low round get him? Absolutely nothing. He tied for 10th, finishing two shots out of a playoff for the final spot in the field.
But like all aspiring tour pros looking for a shot on the PGA Tour, Pastore keeps coming back for more. Last week at TPC Dorado Beach he fired an even-par 71, tying for 40th in the Monday qualifier for the Puerto Rico Open. This week, he was back at it again, looking to get in the Honda Classic field via the Monday qualifier at Banyan Cay.
Pastore shot a six-under 66, a score you’d think would be enough to earn one of the four spots at PGA National. But because Erik Compton and Drew Nesbitt edged him by one stroke, Pastore found himself in a 7-for-2 playoff that began on Tuesday morning.
On the first playoff hole, Pastore appeared to lock up one of the two remaining spots when he hit his second shot on the par-5 10th to three feet. In the threesome ahead, one player made birdie while the other two made bogeys. That meant Pastore’s kick-in eagle would earn him one of the remaining spots no matter what. Until …
What. A. Dagger. "I was just shocked, in disbelief that I missed the putt," Pastore told Golf Digest over the phone on Tuesday night. "It was a tap-in basically, so when I missed it and it lipped out, I basically had the same length putt [for birdie], and when I went to go tap it in like I normally would, again I was just kind of shocked."
Pastore was able to regain his composure and hole the birdie putt, but not before stepping away first:
"I was still shocked, that's why I wasn't ready to hit the putt," he said. "I was laughing, literally. I just couldn't believe it. I backed off and just said 'alright, compose yourself, and hit it with a straight face.'"
"It was probably the shortest meaningful putt I've ever missed, but I just tried to tell myself that I was still four guys for two spots and I'm playing well and I still have a good chance to get in this tournament, so just forget about it."
Pastore still had life, but it couldn't have been the best feeling when he was just a few feet away from planning the rest of his week at PGA National. When asked if he felt like he blew it, he didn't hesitate to say yes.
"Of course, that was my chance to get in, and I had to go and make another eagle to get in. That's never a given."
But he quickly moved on, tying the other three remaining players with pars on the second playoff hole, the 11th, and then they all went to the par-5 18th. Pastore hit the green in two again, this time 15 feet from the hole. Naturally, he buried that putt, letting out a well-earned fist pump:
This is the second time Pastore has Monday qualified for a PGA Tour event this year, the first being Torrey Pines, where he missed the cut by five shots. He had previously played in just one tour event, the 2015 Travelers in his home state of Connecticut. He's yet to find footing on any tour, spending the bulk of his time on the Mackenzie Tour (22 career events), but it's clear he's got the game based off his Monday qualifying resume. Not to mention his amateur resume, which includes a bunch of wins in the Metropolitan area, the most notable being the 2014 Met Amateur, when he closed out the victory with a hole-in-one. Apparently, the higher the drama, the better Pastore plays.
He'll tee off on the 10th hole at PGA National on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. ET alongside Australia's Cameron Davis and Canada's Roger Sloan.