Flesch (68) goes from alternate list to leaderboard

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At the start of the week, Steve Flesch didn't expect to be anywhere near the vicinity of TPC San Antonio and the Valero Texas Open.

Flesch began the week as third alternate for the 156-man field, and his plans were to fly to Pittsburgh for U.S. Open media day as part of his role as an on-course commentator for the season's second major. But the 48-year-old quickly began moving up the alternate list, and when Colt Knost announced his withdrawal, Flesch was officially in the field and forced to revise his travel plans.

"Actually starting Tuesday I didn't know I was close to getting in the tournament," Flesch said. "Lo and behold the Tour called and said you're the second alternate, and now you're in. All in an hour and a half. I was scrambling for flights."

Flesch is making just his third start of the season, and only his seventh competitive appearance in the last 12 months. But the veteran didn't show any rust during his opener in San Antonio, a 4-under 68 that included five birdies and left him two shots behind Charley Hoffman.

"When you're not playing a lot of tournament golf like I haven't been in the last couple of years, it doesn't matter how you're playing at home. It's no indication," Flesch said. "Friends ask, 'How are you playing?' I'm playing OK, but until I actually test it in the tough waters here of the PGA Tour, you never really know."

Flesch has four PGA Tour wins to his credit, the most recent of which came at the now-defunct Turning Stone Resort Championship in 2007. But he did finish T-7 last year at the Barracuda Championship and is eager to make the most of an opportunity he didn't expect to have when the week began.

"I'm playing golf, just not in any events and, you know, still got game," he said. "I'm just not playing that much."