Abbotsford golfer Nick Taylor's game is in fine form heading into the final stage of Tour Q-School this week.

Abbotsford golfer Nick Taylor's game is in fine form heading into the final stage of Tour Q-School this week.

Taylor’s game in fine form heading into final stage of Q-School

Reflecting on Nick Taylor's PGA Tour Canada performance over the summer, you're not sure whether to congratulate him or console him.

Reflecting on Nick Taylor’s PGA Tour Canada performance over the summer, you’re not sure whether to congratulate him or console him.

On one hand, the 25-year-old Abbotsford native was arguably the most consistent golfer on the tour, which is the third tier of men’s pro golf in North America behind the PGA Tour and the Tour. He led PGA Tour Canada in birdies made (151), notched five top-10 finishes, and missed just one cut in nine tourneys.

On the other hand, despite being in contention on many a Sunday, Taylor wasn’t able to nail down a win – his best finish was a tie for second. As a byproduct, he failed to notch a top-five finish on the PGA Tour Canada order of merit, which would have yielded a Tour card and exemptions into the first four events of the 2014 season. He ended up seventh overall.

“It was frustrating, but I guess it was a good frustration,” Taylor reasoned during an interview with The News this week.

“There were honestly four or five tournaments – and you obviously can’t win all of them – where I felt like I really had a chance to win on the last nine on the final day. Maybe some of them I got beaten a little bit, and others I made a couple careless bogeys that cost me not only maybe a win, but some places in the top five that cost me money for the order of merit.

“If you keep putting yourself in position, you’re obviously playing well, but it was frustrating I couldn’t win or place a little better. But I learned from it.”

Indeed, Taylor’s game isn’t displaying any hangover-like effects heading into the final stage of the Tour’s qualifying school this week.

After a couple months off, he moved down to Phoenix at the start of November to gear up for Q-School, rooming with a pair of fellow local pros – Abbotsford’s Adam Hadwin, a Tour regular the past two years who has status again next season, and Mission’s Kevin Stinson.

Taylor played a couple of events on the All-American Gateway Tour, an Arizona-based tourney circuit, and notched a victory and a runner-up finish.

“I felt good – I’ve been practicing a lot with every part of my game,” he said. “I played pretty consistent, and hopefully it keeps going this week.”

Taylor earned a bye into the final stage of Q-School by virtue of his seventh-place overall finish on PGA Tour Canada. He’s guaranteed at least some status on the Tour next season, but his level of access depends on how high he finishes.

The Q-School winner is exempt for the entire 2014 Tour season; the rest of the top 10 are exempt until the third periodic re-order (12 tournaments); the top 45 are exempt until the second periodic re-order (eight tournaments); and players after 45th only get conditional status, meaning they’ll get into events on an alternating basis.

The Q-School finale is an epic six-round marathon, beginning this Thursday at PGA West’s TPC Stadium and Nicklaus courses in La Quinta, Calif.

“I’ve never done anything like that competitively, so it’ll be a bit of a grind,” noted Taylor, who made the drive out to La Quinta a couple times over the past month to play the PGA West courses.

“I’ve played them both enough that I’m comfortable with them.”