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Broadaway comes up short

Photo by Scott Chancey

Photo by Scott Chancey

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- All week long, Josh Broadaway's name could be found comfortably inside the Top 25 at the PGA Tour's Q-School.

All but the final day.

After starting the sixth and final round in a tie for 12th of the annual PGA qualifying tournament that awards the Top 25 finishers their coveted Tour card for the following season, the Albany pro golfer had a nightmare final round, firing a 78 for a 6-over and finishing tied for 40th at 6-under for the tournament -- three shots off the magical cut line of 9-under.

After playing amazing golf up to that point -- and to put in perspective how one bad round can erase five steady days -- prior to Monday, Broadaway had never ended worse than tied for 12th and hadn't shot any higher than a 71.

"It's a tough one to swallow and it'll probably be with me for a while -- but I'll get over it," Broadaway wrote in a text message to The Herald on Monday, declining to talk in any great detail what he could only describe as a really "rough day."

After all, this was Broadaway's fifth attempt to play his way onto the top tier PGA Tour at Q-School, and he previously missed the cut in 2003, '06, '07 and '08.

But never had he been this close before.

And, admittedly, none of the defeats hurt worse than this one.

Especially considering, "I really had just one bad hole," wrote Broadaway of his triple bogey on No. 7.

After starting the round with a par on No. 1, Broadaway followed that up with a bogey on No. 2, but then evened out his score with a birdie on No. 3. But after three consecutive pars on Nos. 4, 5 and 6, Broadaway hit the par 4, No. 7 -- the hole he said was his undoing.

"I made two bad swings, and I tripled," Broadaway lamented. "(After that), then I hit the ball well."

Of course, in a tournament that one doesn't have to win, per se, to actually achieve the goal of a PGA Tour card, Broadaway knew as long as he stayed steady, he would still have a chance.

But after two more bogeys on the back nine, and only one birdie, those chances faded into the South Florida sunset.

One of those bogeys was a double on No. 15, which came one hole after he bogeyed 14.

"That double I made at 15 was just a mud ball that curved about 60 yards," he wrote. "There wasn't much I could do."

Broadaway went on to par 16 and 17, then birdie 18.

But by then, it was too late. He saw where his name was on the leaderboard. He saw the low scores passing him by. And he knew that his PGA dream -- at least for this year -- was over.

"I have a lot to be thankful for," wrote Broadaway, who graduated from Byne Christian in Albany. "And the good Lord says, 'Everything happens for a reason.'"

The silver lining in the cloud is that -- because he finished in the Top 50 -- Broadaway earned full 2010 exemption status on the Nationwide Tour.

Although, after six years playing on the PGA's lower-tier Nationwide Tour -- with his highest career finish coming in 2008 when he took third at the Miccosukee Championship in Miami, also for his largest career pay day of $32,500 -- that news was merely a footnote to a great week that once again ended in disappointment.

"I'll get there one day," Broadaway wrote. "I guess (this) just wasn't the day."