Clampett Qualifies for Ace Group Classic-2013

ACE GROUP CLASSIC NOTEBOOK:

Bonita Springs' Bobby Clampett thrilled to qualify for hometown event

Champions Tour player and CBS Sports golf analyst Bobby Clampett conducted a clinic on his Impact Zone way of teaching for members at Bonita Bay Club on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011.

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Champions Tour player and CBS Sports golf analyst Bobby Clampett conducted a clinic on his Impact Zone way of teaching for members at Bonita Bay Club on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011.

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.'"