Scottsdale, AZ – Jeff Freeman shot his fourth consecutive under 66 on Friday to win Champions Tour Q-School by four strokes.
Freeman finished 72 holes at 20-under 264, a tournament record, to earn full exempt status on the 2012 Champions Tour circuit. Each of the top five finishers at TPC Scottsdale this week all earned full exempt status, meaning Gary Hallberg, Jim Rutledge, Jeff Hart and P.H. Horgan III joined Freeman on that list.
Hallberg (70) and Rutledge (68) shared second at 16-under 268; Hart (67) was fourth at 15-under; and Horgan (68) took fifth at minus-14.
Players in the top 30 and ties this week received some kind of status on tour next year or the opportunity to qualify for events. Some notable names in the field that finished in the top 30 were Joel Edwards -- tied for 21st -- and Peter Fowler -- tied for 25th -- while putting guru Stan Utley shared 42nd and missed the mark.
Bobby Clampett (67), Sonny Skinner (67) and Jim Carter (69) tied for sixth at 13-under, while Robin Freeman (66) and Mark Mouland (71) were knotted in ninth at minus-12.
Freeman put the tournament away rather quickly, looking early as if he could threaten a 59.
He began with a birdie to get to 16-under, and, after two pars, rattled off five straight birdies to vault to minus-21 and well ahead of his nearest competitors. At that point, his lone competition was the magic number, which was more possible because of the par-71 course.
Freeman could have reached that mark by matching his front nine six-under, but he never came close. He birdied the 12th, but finished with bogeys at Nos. 13 and 17 to account for his final score.
Nevertheless, he earned a full exemption for the Champions Tour in 2012 in his first year of eligibility. He doesn't turn 50 until next April.
NOTES: Other players who made the top 30 were Lance Ten Broeck, James Mason, Dick Mast, Bill Glasson, Ben Bates, Gene Jones, Nobumitsu Yuhara, Robin Byrd, Kirk Hanefeld, Joe Daley, Andy Morse, David Peoples, Mike Harwood, Steve Jones, Willie Wood, Greg Bruckner, Tom Byrum, Jim Roy and Bob Niger...Defending champion Keith Clearwater finished well down the leaderboard at five-over.