Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Golf: Our boy ties for sixth at Columbia

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Tauranga golfer Josh Geary had a significant top-10 finish in Columbia on the Tour.
Tauranga golfer Josh Geary had a significant top-10 finish in Columbia on the Tour.

Josh Geary's dream of joining his old Bay of Plenty teammate Danny Lee on the US PGA Tour took another step closer yesterday.

The 31-year-old from Tauranga tied for sixth at the Servientrega Championship in Columbia on the Tour. Geary moved to No.24 on the money list with $53,753 in earnings despite only playing two of the five tournaments so far this season.

The top 25 money-winners at the end of the Tour regular season are rewarded with full playing rights on the 2016-17 PGA Tour. Last week's 12th finish and this top 10 finish means Geary is likely to have secured a playing spot for the rest of this year's Tour.

Geary earned his Tour playing privileges by finishing in the top five on the 2015 PGA Tour China Series Order of Merit.

Between 2008 and 2013 he played 41 times on the Tour, with 25 appearances in 2011 when he finished ranked 74th on the tour, but he never fulfilled his potential.

At the Servientrega Championship in Columbia, Geary finished four shots behind winner Brad Fitsch of Canada with rounds of 76, 65, 70 and 70. The difference between his rounds of 2-under 70 in the third and final rounds was 11 places on the scoreboard. "After two great weeks, I did what I came here to do - and more so. So I'm very pleased about that," Geary said.

Trailing by six shots when the day began, Geary knew making up ground by going low would be difficult with wind battering TPC Cartagena. He did well to make five birdies but also had three bogeys in his round.

"It was a very tough day as the wind was already up before we teed off.

"I played real solid and hit a lot of great shots today. But it was hard to do much more than grind for pars in the strong wind," Geary said.

After opening the day with three pars, he birdied the fourth and fifth holes, giving himself a glimmer of hope of making a charge for the lead. He drained a 1m birdie putt on the fourth and chipped in for birdie on the fifth but he hit an errant tee shot on the par-5 eighth hole that led to a bogey. He added birdies on the 10th, 13th and 15th holes, but a pair of bogeys hurt on both par-3s on the back nine at 14 and 17.

"I was unfortunate to miss two fairly short putts on the final two greens, from approximately 1.8m.

"One was for par on 17 and one for birdie on the last," Geary continued.

"I hit good putts, but it was pure guess work in those winds. Unfortunately, they both slid by.

"But I'm still very happy with a really solid week in such trying conditions."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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