Ellis wins Order of Merit

Despite playing very well of late, John Ellis of Morgan Hill

John Ellis is going back to school – the second stage of PGA
Tour Qualifying School that is.
INNISFIL, ONTARIO – John Ellis is going back to school – the second stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School that is.

With his tie for fourth place in this week’s Canadian Tour Championship, the Morgan Hill native ended the season atop the Order of Merit. Ellis is reaping the benefits, along with his $113,315 (Canadian) in winnings. He earned the Rolex Player of the Year Award and an exemption into the second stage of Q-School, where he’ll try to fulfill his dream of making the PGA Tour.

“When I get to the PGA Tour, I am going to look back on this season and say that it was a real steppingstone in my development,” Ellis told CanTour Communications. “I felt like I climbed over a big hill this year and that the PGA Tour is right there.”

At the par-72, 7,013-yard National Pines Golf Club in Innisfil, Ontario, Tom Stankowski carded a 69 in the final round Sunday to capture the Tour Championship by two strokes over Wes Heffernan and Graham DeLaet. Stankowski birdied the final hole to finish at 16-under-par 272 for his first Canadian Tour title.

“This feels great,” said the Santa Barbara product. “I proved to myself that I can win at this level, and it means a lot to me to come out here and beat some great players.”

Stankowski edged Calgary’s Wes Heffernan, who shot 1-under to collect his third second-place finish of the season. Steve Friesen closed with a 68 to share fourth place with Ellis at 11-under-par 277.

Ellis shot even par in the final round, but made another patented late charge. The Live Oak High School alumnus was 3-under through the first 10 holes Sunday before struggling to 3-over on the final eight.

The fourth-place finish took little away from his remarkable season.

“This is pretty special,” Ellis said. “I didn’t play my best golf down the stretch, but I figured I had to finish third or better to take the money crown. I felt like I was playing for third; not to win a golf tournament, which was very poor for me.

“I got myself in the tournament for a while, but then I started thinking about what (Heffernan) was doing and I sort of fell apart with a few bogeys. There were too many sidetracks on my mind, I guess.”

Ellis refocused for the pivotal 17th hole, but ended up three-putting his way out of contention. He still took home an additional $7,500 for winning the International Division of the Canadian Tour Bursary.

“To finish fourth here is a real testament to how I played all year,” Ellis said. “It is pretty special to put my name alongside some of the best players in the world, who have been Canadian Tour Player of the Year.”

Fall Q-School begins Monday at Ontario’s Royal Ashburn Golf Club.

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