The 28-year-old three-year veteran posted an even-par 72 at the always-tough Royal Ashburn Golf Club Wednesday and his 54-hole total of 3-under 213 is one shot better than former Canadian amateur stars Dan Swanson and Lee Curry, New Zealand's Nick Davey and American Brian Unk. Aussie Peter Wilson and Americans Jon Turcott, Brian Nosler and Kevin Cannon are in at 1-under 215.
Once fourth-round action wraps up Thursday, the starting field of 112 golfers will be reduced to the low 60 scores plus ties. Those remaining competitors will square off Friday for one of 25 cards (15 exempt and 10 non-exempt) to be awarded for the 2004 Canadian Tour season.
Webb set the early tone Wednesday by chipping in for eagle on the par-3 fifth hole en route to a 4-under 32 on his front side. He struggled on the inbound nine with five bogeys, including three in a four-hole stretch, but still finds himself in ideal position to regain the playing privileges he lost last month after finishing 92nd on the Canadian Tour money list.
'Even if I had shot 36-36 here today Id still be in the lead'either way, even par is not a bad score on this golf course,' said Webb, who made five of eight cuts in 2003. 'But I think I lost my concentration after making the turn, which is exactly why I am back here (at Q-school).'
If the lofty perch atop the leaderboard has Webb feeling overconfident, the former East Tennessee State University standout certainly isnt about to show it. It would seem that only a total collapse would prevent him from a fourth consecutive season on the Canadian Tour, but Webb insists he wont be taking his foot off the pedal for the next two days.
'I think Im going to have to find a different goal for the rest of the way other than just qualifying. I need something to focus on, so I might as well try to win this thing. If I can focus on winning, everything else should take care of itself.'
Swanson, who is playing in his first tournament as a pro this week, made the cut as an amateur earlier this summer at the Canadian Tours Greater Vancouver Classic. The NCAA All-American at the University of Texas-El Paso is also in a comfortable spot with just 36 holes to play, but needed birdies late in his final round, on holes 13 and 18, to stay within one shot of Webb.
'I know Ive played in some Tour events, but this is a different kind of pressure,' admitted the 24-year-old. 'Usually you are out to win a tournament, but here, in the back of your mind, you are happy in the top 15. Its hard not to think like that. But I am in great shape and, the way the pins are tucked out there, I wont have to take extra chances the last two days. I can keep doing what it is I have been doing and not play desperate.'