FRYS.COM OPEN: Ellis finishes one spot out of qualifying at shootout

FRYS.COM OPEN: Ellis finishes one spot out of qualifying at shootout

Local John Ellis still has ‘outside shot’ to make cut for PGA
Tour event at CordeValle.
SAN MARTIN – John Ellis has one slim opportunity left to be part of the first PGA Tour event in Silicon Valley, and the Live Oak High graduate needs to make it count after struggling in Tuesday’s Open exemption shootout at CordeValle Golf Club.

Ellis, 30, managed to tie for second place out of 18 local professionals at 2-under-par 70. He was four strokes behind winner Isaac Weintraub, who earned a spot in the Oct. 14-17 Open at CordeValle.

Ellis will get another shot in a qualifier played the Monday before the tournament at Bayonet Course in Seaside.

“I’ve still got an outside shot, but I was really hoping to make it yesterday,” Ellis said Wednesday. “I scored better than I played, so from that standpoint, it’s a little frustrating.”

Hoping to repeat his clutch performance at CordeValle in 2008 when he qualified for the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, Ellis played well early on, collecting birdies on the par-4 first and eighth holes. A double bogey on the par-4 No. 10, however, ultimately “derailed” any hope of catching the 27-year-old from Santa Cruz.

Weintraub’s 66 marked an “incredible round of golf,” Open director Ian Knight said.

“Isaac just had a great day. He certainly earned it,” Ellis said of his Canadian Tour opponent. “He’s a really nice kid. I hope he does great.”

Ellis is taking the rest of this week off and will compete next in a qualifier for an upcoming Nationwide Tour event in the Los Angeles area.

Weintraub, a youthful journeyman who once played in 11 countries and four continents during a 12-month stretch, is excited to make his PGA Tour debut in San Martin.

“I’m just going to enjoy it,” he said. “I’m playing well right now, so I kind of wish the tournament was this week.

“I feel like I’m a veteran, but I’m not that old.”

Weintraub joins a long list of young players who have had the chance to showcase their talent through the Open, including Rickie Fowler and Jamie Lovemark.

“Fry’s has turned my life around,” Troy Matteson, the tournament’s two-time defending champion, said. “I may not even be here today if not for them.

“The event’s great. Anytime you can come back and see your name posted up there, your picture on a poster; what can you say? When I was a kid, I never thought I could be standing here.”

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