Calm, cool and collected _ 17-year-old youngest to earn PGA Tour card

Monday, December 3rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ A 17-year-old high school junior became the youngest player to earn a PGA Tour card Monday, posting a bogey-free 66 to finish among the top 35 players at qualifying school.

Ty Tryon made one of the most grueling tests in golf look like child's play at Bear Lakes Country Club.

``I'm going to go to bed tonight and realize I'm on the PGA Tour,'' he said.

He'll have to wait a little longer, since the PGA Tour requires its members to be 18. Tryon will be allowed to play some tournaments under a sponsor's exemption until June 2, when he turns 18.

Those were minor details. All that mattered Monday was that a kid who was in junior golf last year played well enough to earn a place alongside Tiger Woods and David Duval on the toughest tour in golf.

Tryon rarely showed emotion throughout the sixth and final round, considered one of the most pressure-packed in golf because of what's at stake. The top 35 players, including ties, after the tournament get PGA Tour cards; the rest go to the developmental Tour.

Tryon finished with an 18-under-par 414, good enough to tie for 23rd place.

Throughout the round, he was followed by his family. His parents turned him loose when he showed he was determined to skip college and go right to the pros.

``I was very pensive watching destiny play itself out,'' said his father, Bill Tryon. ``He's got a lot of heart. All he needed was someone to tell him he couldn't do it.''

The younger Tryon turned pro after failing to advance to match play in the U.S. Amateur. Critics said it was a mistake to skip college, but he made it through all three stages _ 14 rounds _ of qualifying school.

Tryon might have to skip the rookie orientation the next two days. He has to get back to Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando and turn in an English paper on ``To Kill a Mockingbird.''

``I've read so much,'' he said, rolling his eyes.