Having avoided the anguish and heartache that has halted his fellow Tennessean, Doug Barron, former PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel is well on his way to avoiding the dead end that can be the second stage of Q-School.
Micheel, who worked with his lawyers and PGA Tour officials for a therapeutic-use exemption to continue using testosterone, fired his third consecutive under-par round, a 67, to settle in at 7-under 206 and tied for fourth. He’s in a comfortable position at the Hombre Golf Club in Panama City Beach, Fla., where the top 20 and ties will move on to the final stage.
(Micheel’s friend, Barron, was denied his TUE and has been suspended one year by the PGA Tour.)
Humbling as it might be, Q-School is a reality of PGA Tour life, though it appears this week the veterans are handling it well. Entering Saturday’s final round, Michell is joined near the top of the leaderboard by Skip Kendall and Dicky Pride, while at Southern Hills Plantation in Brooksville, Fla., longtime PGA Tour member Jay Williamson is tied for the lead.
The picture is similar at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga., where veterans Ken Duke, Jim McGovern and Robert Damron are all well inside the current number. At Deerwood GC in Kingwood, Texas, those in a share for second include veterans J.P. Hayes, Neal Lancaster and Omar Uresti. Out in Beaumont, Calif., it’s a similar refrain – veterans doing well.
That’s because Jeff Brehaut leads, Todd Fischer is in fifth, and among those tied for 10th are Jason Gore and Jonathan Kaye. In fact, Kaye may have authored the best story of Round 3, shooting 66 to hurdle 31 players as he began the day tied for 41st.
It was a different story for veteran Bob May in Beaumont. Starting the day tied for fifth, he labored with a 74 and fell into a share of 25th, though that’s just one stroke off the present cut.
May will need a strong effort today to get by, but he’s at least in contention. A healthy list of young, but notable names, can’t quite say the same thing.
At Southern Hills, for instance, Erik Compton shot 76 to fall into a share of 54th, while Ty Tryon (72) is tied for 56th. Mike Van Sickle (T-58) is six strokes off the current cut at Callaway Gardens, though Drew Weaver (T-68) is even further down, while among those on the outside looking in at Deerwood GC are former NCAA champs Jamie Lovemark (T-44) and Kevin Chappell (63rd). Meanwhile, out in Beaumont, another former NCAA standout, Daniel Woltman, shot 68 to move up into a tie for 41st, though that still leaves him four off the pace.
Rain played havoc with the site in McKinney, Texas, so players will have to finish the third round Saturday morning, then go right into the final round.