Q-School 5 Things: 'Tomorrow is never fun'
Photos: Snapshots from PGA Tour Q-School
Our Sean Martin is making his way around PGA West's Stadium Course. Here are some of his best smartphone pictures.
LA QUINTA, Calif. – Five rounds are finished at PGA Tour Q-School. Just one remains. The leaders have to tackle PGA West’s Stadium Course on Monday in order to earn PGA Tour cards. It’s the more-difficult of the two layouts in use this week, and while it yields plenty of birdies, there’s also plenty of trouble. Water lines several holes, including the island-green, par-3 17th. It should be a fun finish, at least for spectators. Here’s 5 Things you need to know after the fifth round. Steven Bowditch, who shot 64 Sunday, is at 23-under 337, one ahead of Kris Blanks. Derek Ernst, Steve LeBrun and Edward Loar are two shots back.
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1. FUN TIMES AHEAD? Billy Horschel earned PGA Tour cards at two previous Q-Schools (2009, ’10). He can speak with perspective about what awaits players Monday.
“Tomorrow is never fun, especially if it’s your first time,” Horschel said. “I don’t care who you are. Anyone who says otherwise is just putting on a front. Sometimes you have to do that to psych yourself into feeling comfortable.
“Tomorrow is nerve-wracking no matter where you stand on the leaderboard. You have to understand that you’re going to be nervous. You’re going to feel every emotion possible. The players who deal with it the best are the ones who get the job done.”
Horschel is T-9, four shots inside the cut line.
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2. LAKEFRONT PROPERTY: Q-School will conclude on PGA West’s Stadium Course. It’s played to a sub-par scoring average in all five rounds this week but there is plenty of trouble. This is the first time since 2006 that Q-School has concluded on the Stadium Course. The past two Q-Schools at PGA West (2008, ’11) finished on the Nicklaus Course.
“I think that’s the way it should,” Scott Langley, who’s T-24, said of finishing on the Stadium Course. “Coming down the stretch, that’s what you want, the challenging shots. You just have to step up and hit the shots.”
The finish should be interesting. The 16th hole is a 612-yard, par-5 with a 15-foot-deep bunker running along the left side of the green. No. 17 is an island-green, par-3 nicknamed “Alcatraz.” It will play 158 yards Monday. The 18th is a par-4 reminiscent of the finisher at TPC Sawgrass’ Players Stadium Course, with water running down the entire left side.
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3. ON THE CUT LINE: Langley, the 2010 NCAA champ, will start Q-School’s final round on the cut line for a PGA Tour card after shooting 66 Sunday. He’s T-24 at 15-under 345; the top 25 and ties earn PGA Tour cards. Tag Ridings, Fabian Gomez, Phillip Mollica, Heath Slocum and Chez Reavie join Langley as the lucky ones on the cut line.
Heath Slocum fell onto the cut line after a double-bogey on the par-3 eighth hole at the Nicklaus Tournament course, his 17th hole of the day. He called a one-shot penalty on himself after his ball moved on the green.
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4. A SECOND CHANCE: Chesson Hadley called his Q-School quest a “resurrection.” He was one of the six players who advanced to second stage after Blayne Barber disqualified himself from first stage. Six players got a second chance after Barber’s DQ; Hadley was the only one of those half-dozen players to make it to final stage. He’s making the most of the second chance. He’s T-39, two shots outside the cut line, after shooting 68 Sunday.
“When I wake up and drive to the course, I think, ‘You might not have been here,’” Hadley said. “The casino has given me free chips to play with.”
Hadley was No. 2 on this year’s eGolf Professional Tour. He turned pro after the 2010 NCAA Championship.
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Dong-Hwan Lee, the fourth-round leader, shot 71 to fall to sixth place. He started the day with a two-shot lead. He’s now three back of Bowditch. Lee’s countryman, Meen-Whee Kim, struggled Sunday and shot 75 to fall from second place to T-30, one shot off the cut line. ... Si Woo Kim, 17, also is T-30. ... Camilo Villegas shot 73 to fall from T-20 to T-46. He’s 12-under 348, three shots off the cut line.