Starting the day three shots off the lead, the 31-year-old fired a 4-under 68 Thursday at Royal Ashburn GC to vault into top spot with a 72-hole total of 4-under 284. Canadians Dan Swanson and Brennan Webb are one shot back, while former Canadian amateur standout Lee Curry is at 2-under 286.
After play wrapped up Thursday, a total of 60 players were at 17-over 305 or better to make the four-round cut. Whether Fridays scheduled final round will be staged remains to be seen. Should whatever remains of the hurricane that battered the U.S. Eastern seaboard Thursday dump the projected rainfall in the area, there is a chance the final round could be washed out.
Tour officials announced early Thursday that if the lead groups off the first and tenth tees on Friday are able to complete their rounds, play will be completed Saturday, if necessary. If no groups are able to finish 18 holes, the final round will be cancelled and results will be official following Thursdays play. The Canadian Tour will award 25 playing cards (15 exempt and 10 non-exempt) for the 2004 season at the conclusion of Q-School.
Parry has played on the Canadian Tour for the past three years and enjoyed his best season in 2002, when he made 11 of 15 cuts with a pair of top-10 showings to finish 35th on the money list. This past year, he planned to play in just eight tour events so he could also ply his trade as a teaching professional in B.C.
Thinking he would still earn enough to keep playing privileges for next season, Parry came up short and found himself back at Q-School after winding up 98th on the money list. Like Webb, who was 92nd in earnings, Parry just missed keeping his card -- the top 80 are exempt for 2004 while 81-90 are non-exempt.
I was burning the candle at both ends, Parry admitted. I thought I could get away with playing just eight events and still make enough to keep my card but it didnt work out that way. The win in Quebec showed me I am a good enough player, so it was just a case of coming out and getting it done this week.
The win he is referring to is the Casino de Charlevoix Cup, a match-play event pitting teams from the Canadian Tour against the Quebec PGA. Two weeks ago, Parry teamed with Brazilian Alex Rocha to take home the $20,000 winners check. Riding the momentum of that win into this week, Parry struggled to a 2-over 146 in the first two days, including a second-round 74 Tuesday.
Coming off that win in Quebec, I had a lot of confidence so I was surprised when I didnt play well the first two days, said Parry. I was leaving myself 40- and 50-foot putts all day Tuesday, so it was basically survival mode. I didnt feel comfortable all day and wasnt seeing things how I normally do. It was a real grind.
So now it is just a case of wait-and-see for hopefuls looking to play their way onto the Canadian Tour. Should conditions be unplayable Friday, players at 4 over or better will be exempt for 2004. Those at 5 over to 8 over will have non-exempt status. While several players likely spent Thursday night hoping for a torrential downpour, others on the outside looking in were wishing for Isabel to fizzle out somewhere in the northern States. Either way, Parry would seem to have a lock on his card for next season.
Ill be honest with you -- Im leading here so if I dont have to play on Friday, great. But there is a lot on the line here and I hope it is fair for everybody. But we were warned Monday that this might happen, so I played this like a four-round golf tournament. If I have to go out tomorrow, so be it. Well deal with it.