August 4, 2009–It was one year nearly to the day between the time when Las Vegas golfer and PGA Tour player Craig Barlow made his 149th and 150th cuts on the PGA Tour. Last year, Barlow made the cut at the Buick Open in Michigan, and then went a whole year before he made another cut, again at the Buick Open. And a big cut it was. Making 150 PGA Tour cuts is a lesser-known milestone, but it makes Barlow, who plays out of Las Vegas golf course Cascata, a lifetime member of the tour, vests him in the retirement fund, plus basically guarantees him a spot in five or six events a year, no matter his overall status on the PGA Tour. And various other perks.
"It is huge in the sense that it gives me security and is a nice reward to a lot of hard work and dedication," said Barlow from the airport just before he boarded a plane back to Las Vegas. "Now for the rest of my life I have some status on the PGA Tour, so basically my consistent play over the years has secured my future. I am in a much, much better position now than I was." Barlow fired rounds of 70-69-70-73 to finish in a tie for 57th.
Over the years, the Buick has been very good to Barlow, who grew up in the Las Vegas area. He said he has played in the Buick 11 times, made the cut in 10 of those tournaments, and finished in the top 10 a couple of times. Barlow got into the 2009 event due to a last-second sponsor's exemption. "As of the Friday before the event, I wasn't in the tournament, but I still traveled there and was playing in the Monday qualifier, but on the 4th hole a rules official came up and told me I was in because someone else withdrew," said Barlow, who also played the Canadian Open the week prior, but missed the cut. "It was very nice of the tournament organizers to give me the exemption, and even nicer that I took advantage of it. It made misssing the cut at the Canadian Open a little less painful knowing I was getting another chance so quickly."
The Las Vegas area is home to more than 50 world class Las Vegas golf courses including Cascata, where Barlow plays and practices when at home. Cascata is a beautiful Rees Jones design that is owned and operated by Harrah's Las Vegas. The course recently received 29 out of 30 in a ZAGAT survey, and currently all Las Vegas golfers can play the course at never-before-offerred golf rates. Click now to view the official website of Cascata to reserve your Las Vegas golf tee times.
Barlow had lost full PGA Tour privileges for 2009, and was mostly playing on the Nationwide Tour this season, so even though he needed to make only one more cut to eclipse the magic number, wondering when and if he would get a shot was stressful. Barlow figured he would eventually hit the number but is glad the chase is over. "I think what made it such a big ordeal was how long it took and because I wasn't getting a lot of chances on the PGA Tour," said Barlow, who is playing in the PGA Tour's Legends Reno-Tahoe Open this weekend solely because of his new veteran status. "At the Canada event, a lot of the guys came up and wished me well, knowing what was at stake, but I think it helped that I got that out of the way last week. I think I was more focused this week because most everyone saw me last week and there wasn't as much discussion about it. But if it didn't happen at the Buick, I might not have had another chance until the Timberlake event in Las Vegas in October, and that wasn't a sure thing."
Barlow has earned nearly $5 million in his PGA Tour career, and now looks to the future in many different ways. He and his wife Leann will have a major announcement in a few weeks, and Barlow, who currently ranks 28th on the Nationwide Tour money list (the top 25 become exempt on the 2010 PGA Tour), is looking forward to finding a way to earn back full status on the PGA Tour. But at the same time, Barlow was a bit sad leaving the Buick. "It looks like this is the last year for the tournament, but I choose not to believe that," said Barlow, just before jumping on the plane. "I think the crowds here are the biggest outside of the majors and the Phoenix Open, and I love this tournament. The crowds are awesome and it is just a neat tournament."–Brian Hurlburt, Founding Editor.