For the second week in a row, Bobby Clampett had his fingers crossed for a sponsor exemption into a Champions Tour event. But it didn't happen, so Clampett had to try to make it through qualifying for The ACE Group Classic.
Tuesday, the Bonita Springs resident survived a double bogey on the 17th hole to shoot a 69, and tie for second to qualify at Old Corkscrew Golf Club in Estero.
"It's nice to be in the tournament," Clampett said. "I've got all of these sponsor exemptions, and I come to my hometown and I have to qualify two years in a row. That's weird, but I made it two years in a row."
Clampett, who finished 39th on the money list last year, hit 16 greens in regulation and one par-5.
"That was an absolute key," the 52-year-old said. "I hit one bad shot on 17 and made double. But I'm pleased. I came back and hit some good shots. I nearly saved bogey, and then birdied the last hole."
Last week at the Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, the outcome was excruciating. Clampett thought he was going to get a sponsor exemption, but it didn't happen. Then in qualifying he shot 68, but found himself in a nine-way playoff for one spot. He didn't make it. But as the week went on, Clampett started moving up the alternate list as players already in the field dropped out. He ended up being first alternate when the first round started.
"It was kind of disappointing and heartbreaking," he said.
Donnie Hammond won the qualifier Tuesday with a 68. Steve Jones (69), David Peoples and Jeff Freeman (both 70s) also made it through. Chip Beck, who plays out of Grey Oaks, tied for 34th with a 77, and Imperial Country Club's John Lee shot a 79.
Clampett, who is a member at Bonita Bay Club and Old Collier Golf Club, started this week as sixth alternate, and again moved up, but didn't want to take the chance of being left on the outside again.
"I didn't want to be in that same vulnerable position of probably not getting in," he said. "It was just one of those days where you gut it out and play hard, and see what happens. It turned out to be a good day."
Last year, Clampett qualified, then played well the first two rounds, but stumbled to a 77 on the last day and tied for 46th. He had four top-10s in 2012, then tied for 19th in Q-School and didn't earn an exemption.
So given his status and his desire to play in his new hometown, getting in this week was a boost.
"It's a big thing for me whenever you're in your hometown and you've got your friends that want to come out and watch," said Clampett, who tied for medalist honors in the member-guest at Old Collier Golf Club. "The last thing you want to tell them is 'I'm sorry I didn't get in the tournament.'"
Trio withdraw: World Golf Hall of Famer and two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange withdrew, citing a pulled rib muscle.
Bruce Fleisher and Kirk Triplett (family reasons) also withdrew.
2007 champion Bobby Wadkins, Morris Hatalsky and David Eger moved into the field.
MyMiles Fore NCH Program: Champions Tour pros, caddies, volunteers, spectators and staff have accepted a friendly challenge to track the miles walked during the week. The NCH Healthcare System Foundation will receive a $10,000 donation from the tournament.
Professionals Gary Koch, Russ Cochran, Mike Goodes and Mike Hulbert logged 26.27 miles to lead Tuesday's results followed by TwinEagles Staff (15.49), Spectators (9.90), Volunteers (8.82) and Tournament Staff (8.19).
Fans can pick up a pedometer at the admissions gate to participate in the MyMiles Fore NCH Program. A limited number of pedometers will be available.
Subway Family Putt for Dough: George Taylor was the Tuesday winner, finishing within 1 foot, 2 inches on a 50-foot putt. The putt is at the end of a free three-hole putting contest. Daily winners get a chance at $50,000 and free Subway for a year on Saturday. There also will be a daily winner on Sunday.
The contest is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
Waste not: Waste Management and The ACE Group Classic have partnered for the ZERO Waste Challenge, which will help divert 30,000 pounds of recyclables away from the Collier County landfill.
Marked recycling containers will be stationed next to every garbage receptacle throughout TwinEagles. On Monday, Waste Management officials met with tournament vendors, volunteer chairmen and staff to educate and spread awareness on the recycling effort.