Golden Cub: Nicklaus junior obtains tour card

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The Independent Online

The charge was vintage Nicklaus - only it belonged to Gary, not Jack.

The charge was vintage Nicklaus - only it belonged to Gary, not Jack.

Gary Nicklaus, the 30-year-old son of Jack Nicklaus, shot a 7-under-par 63 in the final round of qualifying school on Monday and earned his US PGA Tour card for the first time in nine attempts.

"Now I get to see how good I really am," Nicklaus said. "I've played a few tour events, but I haven't played a ton, and I'm excited to get out there and move on to new challenges. Hopefully, this is the last time I ever come to this tournament again."

Blaine McCallister, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, won the six-round event at Doral Golf Resort by closing with a 67 for a 19-under 401.

The top 35 and ties earned their cards for the 2000, while the next 50 and ties earned a spot on the Tour (formerly Nike Tour).

The fourth of five children, Gary tied for 12th and became the first Nicklaus to make it through the pressure cooker known as Q-school. His father never needed Q-school, having won the US Open as a rookie and winning the career Grand Slam before Gary was even born.

"It's an honour to be his son," Nicklaus said. "Not only is he the greatest golfer who ever played, but he's a wonderful father and a great person. I wouldn't want it any other way. I'm sure he's pretty happy."

Nicklaus turned pro in 1991 and spent the past decade on mini-tours and in Europe. He played the Nike Tour this year and finished 70th on the money list, his best tournament a tie for third in the Wichita Open.

He also has played 25 PGA Tour events in his career, only making the cut twice.

Jack Nicklaus, who had watched every shot his son played through five rounds on the Gold and Silver courses at Doral, missed the great finish. He was in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, to attend the funeral service for Arnold Palmer's wife, Winnie, who died on Saturday.

"I've been telling Gary all along that he's a lot better player than he gives himself credit for being," said Nicklaus, who got telephone updates after each hole. "I told him to go out there and prove it, and he did. To come through the tour qualifying schools - and to come through with flying colors - now gives him the opportunity to take his game to the next level.

"Who knows? I might even take up golf again."