Alabama dropout Cauley rising up Frys leaderboard

By October 8, 2011, 12:55 am

SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Bud Cauley has made $331,150 in six starts this year since turning pro before the U.S. Open. He needs a shade over $450,000 to earn enough money to get inside the top 125 on the 2011 PGA Tour order of merit. The Alabama product could earn all of that and then some if he remains in solo second as he is now at the halfway mark of the Open.

Cauley shot 5-under 66 on Friday at CordeValle to trail Paul Casey by a shot. 

'I feel like I'm improving by playing out here, and that's what I hoped would happen by leaving school a year early. I felt my game was ready to come out here and the best thing for my game would be to play against the best competition. So I'm happy with how I've played so far, and just looking to continue,' he said.

Cauley may not have an opportunity to continue if he is unable to finish in the top 10 this week, which would gain him entry to the McGladrey Classic. The rookie said he only has one more start planned for the year, but it comes in his hometown of Jacksonville on the Nationwide Tour.

If he fails to remain inside the top 10, Cauley said he will take the redeye to Sea Island through three time zones to play the Monday qualifier.

Cauley can save the hassle if he finishes in solo second, however. It would pay $540,000 and guarantee his place on the PGA Tour next year. Though he had no status entering the year as compared to players in this Fall Series event seeking to protect their livelihood, Cauley has just as much motivation as them to earn the requisite cash.

'I want to miss Q-school as much as all the rest of the guys,' he joked. 'I may need to earn a little bit more money than some of them. I don't want to go as bad as they don't, too. I value every shot out there, and I'm just trying to shoot as low as I can.'