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Ex-Cyclone Chris Baker earns PGA Tour card

Eleven years out of Iowa State, Baker breaks through

Surrounded by family and friends, Chris Baker (white cap) celebrates clinching a 2019-20 PGA Tour card Monday. He tied for fourth in the Korn Ferry Tour’s Tour Championship in Newburgh, Ind., putting him at 15th in that Tour’s Finals standings. The top 25 advanced to the PGA Tour. (photo taken from Golf Channel telecast)
Surrounded by family and friends, Chris Baker (white cap) celebrates clinching a 2019-20 PGA Tour card Monday. He tied for fourth in the Korn Ferry Tour’s Tour Championship in Newburgh, Ind., putting him at 15th in that Tour’s Finals standings. The top 25 advanced to the PGA Tour. (photo taken from Golf Channel telecast)

NEWBURGH, Ind. — Former Iowa State golfer Chris Baker has qualified to play on the PGA Tour next season.

Baker tied for fourth-place Monday in the Korn Ferry Tour’s Tour Championship, two hours from his Brownstown, Ind., hometown. That lifted him to 15th in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals point standings after starting the tourney tied for 48th. The top 25 advanced to the PGA Tour.

Baker missed the 36-hole cut in the first of the three Finals events and tied for 37th in the second one. His final-round 2-under-par 70 here left him at 13-under in the tourney.

He double-bogeyed the 17th hole Monday with a 3-putt. After hitting from a fairway bunker to the green at 18, he needed two putts to secure his par. His first was six feet short. He curled in the par putt to clinch his spot on the big tour.

“It snuck in the right side,” Baker told Golf Channel.

“I knew I had to make it. What better challenge for a week than to make a 6-footer?

“One of the best days of my life.”

It was a rebound from heartbreak three weeks earlier when Baker missed the cut at the Korn Ferry’s final regular-season event in Portland, Ore., and finished 26th in the point-standings. The top 25 from the season-long standings also got PGA Tour cards, and Baker had been in the top 25 much of the season.

He has been on the Korn Ferry Tour since 2014, never winning an event in 143 starts. This was his seventh Top Ten of 2019.

Baker, 33, graduated from Iowa State in 2008. He was the school’s Male Athlete of the Year for 2007-08.

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He can start PGA Tour play this month. The 2019-20 season starts next weekend in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., and continues through Nov. 24 before a break until early January.

“I couldn’t be any more happy,” Baker said: “A long time coming, a lot of work.”

Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@thegazette.com

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