Another round of Q-School hits Tour hopefuls

Seventeen seasons removed from his Rookie of the Year honor, Mark Carnevale is a freshman all over again.

Well, maybe not a freshman, but the soon-to-be-50-year-old (May 21, 2010) is headed back to the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament – four years since he last played in a PGA Tour event and 11 years since his last full-time competitive season in the big leagues.

If it sounds strange, you can chalk it up to a tweak in specific PGA Tour categories in which Carnevale falls.

“Essentially, it will grant me the status I’ve earned,” Carnevale said.

Recently, PGA Tour officials announced that players in categories 30, 31, and 33 (past champions, team tournament winners or veteran members, respectively) could maintain their status if they competed in Q-School, made a cut on the PGA Tour or Champions Tour within the last two seasons or played in five combined events in the past season.

Carnevale does not qualify on any count. With a desire to give the Champions Tour a shot, it behooves him to have his status up to date. Going through Q-School will do that for Carnevale, who knows only that he’s exempt into next year’s Senior British Open.

Having worked the last few years covering the PGA Tour for Sirius XM radio, Carnevale has been around the game and recently played several times while working on the West Coast. He also tried to Monday-qualify for the Frys.com Open, only to shoot 71 and fall short.

He’ll tee it up starting Wednesday in Panama City, Fla., but Carnevale will hardly be alone. More than 475 players will be competing at six sites for the chance to advance their hopes of a 2010 PGA Tour card. Among those who’ll be taking on the challenge are some intriguing names:

Shaun Micheel, the 2003 PGA Championship winner who has struggled in recent years and played in 2009 on a medical exemption.

At Southern Hills in Brooksville, Fla., the field will include one-time teenage wonder Ty Tryon, former U.S. Amateur winner David Gossett and feel-good story Erik Compton.

PGA Tour veterans Joe Durant, Marco Dawson, Jay Williamson, Ted Tryba, Frank Lickliter and Robert Gamez are in the Brooksville field, as is former University of Florida standout Billy Horschel.

Len Mattiace, who came within a swing of winning the 2003 Masters, is entered into the field at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga., competing against the likes of veterans Carlos Franco and Robert Damron, as well as young guns Drew Weaver and Mike Van Sickle.

Kingwood, Texas will be a gathering spot for former NCAA champions Jamie Lovemark (2007) and Kevin Chappell (2008).

At TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas, former U.S. Amateur winners Nick Flanagan and Colt Knost will tee it up.

Dan Woltman and Cameron Tringale will represent the new age in Beaumont, Calif., but the old guard will have in place names such as Bob Burns, Jonathan Kaye, Kirk Triplett, Dennis Paulson, Brent Geiberger and Jason Gore.

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