Q-School second stage puts real pressure on players

By Rex HoggardNovember 14, 2012, 9:43 pm

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. – There will be no shortage of hard-luck, tear-jerk, bottomed-out, end-of-the-line tales of woe at the PGA Tour’s final Q-School in two weeks; but if the end of an institution will also be the end of the line for some, the mathematical reality of the circuit’s layered qualifying process is that this week’s second stage is a much more concerning cliff, both fiscal and otherwise, for many a play-for-play type.

“Second stage is always harder to get through,” said Patrick Sheehan following a first-round 70 at the second stage site Southern Hills Plantation. “It is always the most pressure. If you miss here you’re going to the Hooters (Tour) or wherever. But if you get through here you have a card on one of the major tours, and that’s where you want to be.”

Those who advance out this week’s six second stage sites to the finale later this month in the California desert, do so secure in the knowledge that they have a job next year, whether it is playing for millions on the PGA Tour or thousands on the Web.com Tour.

The 500 or so players who set out this week in second stage largely have no such assurances. In simplest terms an exemption system that is riddled with loopholes is mercilessly simplified by the Draconian reality of second stage.

Consider Frank Lickliter, the 2007 Q-School medalist and two-time Tour winner, who played just nine events in the Big Leagues in 2012 and finished 201st on the money list. Unless Lickliter advances to final stage, an option that took a body blow when he opened with a 71 on Wednesday, he will have limited status in 2013 on either the PGA or Web.com tours.

It’s why Billy Hurley III spent the weekend gazing at a computer screen after missing the cut at the Tour’s season finale at Walt Disney World. The former Navy officer began the week at Disney 146th on the money list, missed the cut with rounds of 74-76 and finished the season 151st in earnings, $165 outside the top 150 which would have exempted him into the final stage of Q-School and given him partial Tour status in 2013.

“I was surprised I dropped out (of the top 150),” said Hurley, who opened with a 67 at Southern Hills Plantation and is two strokes behind front-runner Brian Duncan. “On Friday I was 152nd, but I figured some guys would cool off. On Saturday I was 149th for most of the day and waking up Sunday morning I thought I would be at 150.”

Instead, Hurley found himself on the wrong end of a $165 pencil whipping. For the price of a bad driver, or a good round of golf, Hurley is playing with precious little by way of a safety net this week in west Florida.

Although his finish on the Tour money list would give him some status in 2013 on the Web.com Tour enduring another sleepless second stage wasn’t the ending he envisioned to his rookie campaign.

“It’s a big deal to get through second stage,” Hurley said. “I did it in 2010 and it’s huge. You feel like you have something.”

How big? Just ask Letzig who ran himself into the ground trying to make sure he had something, anything really, to cling to next season.

Following a lackluster few years Letzig began 2012 re-energized thanks to his work with a sports psychologist and a better attitude, but that didn’t translate into better play.

After missing more weekends than he made through the first six months of the year on the Web.com Tour, Letzig found himself perched at “fifty-something” on the secondary circuit’s money list. If he finished outside the top 60 he would have no status, anywhere, in 2013.

“I was just battling to stay inside the top 60 and I was just a zombie,” said Letzig, who played seven consecutive weeks to close the season. “I really don’t remember the year. I hate to complain when you play golf for a living, but it was too much golf.”

Letzig finished the year 58th in Web.com earnings and stormed out to the clubhouse lead early Wednesday at Southern Hills Plantation thanks, at least in part, to the occupational solace his season-ending money marathon delivered.

“It’s different this year not playing for a job. Second stage is so hard to get through. There is a lot of pressure if you come here without a job,” Letzig said following his round at Southern Hills Plantation, an idyllic Pete Dye design located roughly halfway between lost and the middle of nowhere.

The rolling layout is so remote one feels like they must have taken a wrong turn on the journey out, much like many of the careers that were on display on Wednesday. It was impossible, for example, to ignore the dichotomy of Daniel Chopra’s spotless Lamborghini in the players’ parking lot on Wednesday.

During a brief two-month span in 2007-08 Chopra was arguably the hottest player on the planet, winning the ’07 Ginn sur Mer Classic in October and following that triumph eight weeks later with his second Tour tilt at the season-opener in Kapalua.

Since then, however, Chopra hasn’t finished in the top 3 at a Tour event and he missed 15 of 21 cuts in 2012 to finish 188th in earnings. It’s a similar story for Robert Karlsson, Lee Janzen and Arjun Atwal, who all are playing for a job this week at an event that defies conventional wisdom.

The final stage of Q-School may be the final arbiter of job security on Tour, but it is the subtle sting of second stage that keeps players up at night.

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Group standings at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 22, 2018, 5:30 pm

Here are the group standings for pool play at the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas. The player with the most points in each pool advanced to Saturday's Round of 16 in Austin, Texas. Click here for scoring and click here for the bracket.

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
(1) D. Johnson: 0-1-0 (2) J. Thomas: 1-0-0 (3) J. Rahm: 0-0-1 (4) J. Spieth: 1-0-0
(32) K. Kisner: 0-0-1 (21) F. Molinari: 1-0-0 (28) K. Aphibarnrat: 1-0-0 (19) P. Reed: 1-0-0
(38) A. Hadwin: 0-0-1
(48) P. Kizzire: 0-1-0 (43) C. Reavie: 0-1-0 (34) H. Li: 0-1-0
(52) B. Wiesberger: 1-0-0
(60) L. List: 0-1-0 (63) K. Bradley: 0-0-1 (49) C. Schwartzel: 0-1-0
Group 5 Group 6 Group 7 Group 8
(5) H. Matsuyama: 1-0-0 (6) R. McIlroy: 0-1-0 (7) S. Garcia: 1-0-0 (8) J. Day: 1-0-0
(30) P. Cantlay: 0-1-0
(18) B. Harman: 0-0-1 (20) X. Schauffele: 1-0-0 (25) L. Oosthuizen: 1-0-0
(46) C. Smith: 1-0-0 (44) J. Vegas: 0-0-1 (41) D. Frittelli: 0-1-0 (42) J. Dufner: 0-1-0
(53) Y. Miyazato: 0-1-0 (51) P. Uihlein: 1-0-0 (62) S. Sharma: 0-1-0 (56) J. Hahn: 0-1-0
Group 9 Group 10 Group 11 Group 12
(9) T. Fleetwood: 1-1-0 (10) P. Casey: 1-0-0 (11) M. Leishman: 0-1-0 (12) T. Hatton: 1-0-0
(26) D. Berger: 0-1-0 (31) M. Fitzpatrick: 0-1-0 (23) B. Grace: 0-1-0 (22) C. Hoffman: 0-1-0
(33) K. Chappell: 1-1-0 (45) K. Stanley: 1-0-0 (35) B. Watson: 1-0-0 (36) B. Steele: 1-0-0
(58) I. Poulter: 1-0-0 (51) R. Henley: 0-1-0 (64) J. Suri: 1-0-0 (55) A. Levy: 0-1-0
Group 13 Group 14 Group 15 Group 16
(13) A. Noren: 2-0-0 (14) P. Mickelson: 0-1-0 (15) P. Perez: 0-0-1 (16) M. Kuchar: 0-0-1
(29) T. Finau: 1-0-0 (17) R. Cabrera Bello: 1-0-0 (24) G. Woodland: 0-0-1 (27) R. Fisher: 0-1-0
(39) T. Pieters: 0-2-0 (40) S. Kodaira: 0-1-0 (37) W. Simpson: 0-0-1 (47) Y. Ikeda: 1-0-0
(61) K. Na: 0-1-0 (59) C. Howell III: 1-0-0 (50) S.W. Kim: 0-0-1 (54) Z. Johnson: 0-0-1
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Romo starts hot, stumbles to 77 in PGA Tour debut

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2018, 5:14 pm

There was plenty of good, but also plenty of bad for Tony Romo in his PGA Tour debut.

Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption, Romo shot an even-par 36 for his opening nine holes in the Dominican Republic. The former NFL quarterback bogeyed his first two holes, but steadied the ship with three birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 4-8.

The early highlight of the round came at the par-4 fifth hole, where Romo drained a putt from across the green for his second straight birdie:

But the back nine wasn't as kind for the 37-year-old, who dropped five shots in a four-hole stretch from Nos. 13-16. It added up to a 5-over 77 in the opening round, which left Romo ahead of only Guy Boros among the players who had finished in the morning wave.

"I hit two poor tee balls. Just didn't commit to it, and ultimately just got put in a tough spot where you're just trying to make par," Romo said. "I hit a lot of good shots, and they ended up a couple times in some poor spots. But you learn the golf course as you play it throughout the week."

Romo has played as an amateur partner in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and has played individually in U.S. Open local qualifiers and mini-tour events as an amateur. But this marks his first attempt to gauge his game against the best players in the world who are not in Austin for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Romo was even par through 12 holes before a three-putt bogey from the fringe on No. 13. A nasty lie in the rough led to a double bogey on the par-5 14th, and Romo had to hit provisional tee shots on both Nos. 15 and 16. While he ultimately found his original ball on both holes, he left with a pair of bogeys.

"I really hit some good shots, and I'm close," Romo said. "I had a chance to be under par pretty easily there for a while, and then two or three shots on the back nine cost me. But that's golf."

Romo will tee off at 1 p.m. ET Friday in the second round alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

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Horschel, Kisner & Perez join "Feherty," Monday, March 26 at 9 p.m. ET

By Golf Channel Public RelationsMarch 22, 2018, 5:10 pm

PREVIEW: Perez details rocky collegiate golf experience at Arizona State

Billy Horschel, Kevin Kisner and Pat Perez – each winners of multiple events on the PGA TOUR – will join David Feherty on his self-titled, Emmy-nominated series Feherty presented by Farmers Insurance®, Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.

“This might be the biggest group of benign social deviants I’ve ever had the privilege of speaking to,” said Feherty. “They’ve been responsible for nine career wins on TOUR collectively, but they’re each also capable of getting into some mischief.”

The episode – filmed in Naples, Fla. – will touch upon several topics, including:

  • Their respective upbringings and corresponding introductions to golf.
  • Reflections on their junior golf and collegiate playing days, and how it helped prepare them to compete as a professional.
  • Contemplating which mulligan(s) they’d take in their life if given the opportunity.

Future guests on Feherty this year include Paul Azinger, Stewart Cink, Boo Weekley and Paul Goydos, among others.

A two-time Emmy-nominated host (Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Host) Feherty has been described as “golf’s iconoclast,” by Rolling Stone, and “the last unscripted man on TV,” by Men’s Journal. His all-star lineup of golf-enthused and culturally relevant guests feature celebrities from across entertainment, sports and politics. To date, Feherty has sat down with four U.S. Presidents (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump); sports legends Charles Barkley, Nick Saban, Stephen Curry and Bobby Knight; Hollywood icons Matthew McConaughey, Larry David and Samuel L. Jackson; World Golf of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Jack Nicklaus, Annika Sorenstam, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson; and a host of current golf superstars including Paula Creamer, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Michelle Wie. Feherty is produced by Golf Channel’s original productions group, which also oversees production for Driver vs. Driver and Golf Films.

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Match-by-match: WGC-Dell Technologies, Day 2

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 22, 2018, 4:00 pm

Here is how things played out on Day 2 of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, as 64 players take on Austin Country Club with hopes of advancing out of pool play. Click here for Day 1 match results:

Group 1: Dustin Johnson (1) vs. Adam Hadwin (38)

Group 1: Kevin Kisner (32) vs. Bernd Wiesberger (52)

Group 2: Justin Thomas (2) vs. Patton Kizzire (48)

Group 2: Francesco Molinari (21) vs. Luke List (60)

 Group 3: Jon Rahm (3) vs. Chez Reavie (43)

Group 3: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (28) vs. Keegan Bradley (63)

Group 4: Jordan Spieth (4) vs. Haotong Li (34)

Group 4: Patrick Reed (19) vs. Charl Schwartzel (49)

Group 5: Hideki Matsuyama (5) vs. Cameron Smith (46)

Group 5: Patrick Cantlay (30) vs. Yusaku Miyazato (53)

Group 6: Rory McIlroy (6) vs. Jhonattan Vegas (44)

Group 6: Brian Harman (18) vs. Peter Uihlein (57)

Group 7: Sergio Garcia (7) vs. Dylan Frittelli (41)

Group 7: Xander Schauffele (20) vs. Shubhankar Sharma (62)

Group 8: Jason Day (8) vs. Jason Dufner (42)

Group 8: Louis Oosthuizen (25) vs. James Hahn (56)

Group 9: Tommy Fleetwood (9) def. Kevin Chappell (33), 7 and 6: Avenging an opening-day loss, the Englishman won the first four holes and needed to make only three birdies in a monster rout of Chappell. The 2017 Presidents Cupper made five bogeys and conceded two other holes but still has a chance to win the group.  

Group 9: Daniel Berger (26) vs. Ian Poulter (58)

Group 10: Paul Casey (10) vs. Kyle Stanley (45)

Group 10: Matthew Fitzpatrick (31) vs. Russell Henley (51)

Group 11: Marc Leishman (11) vs. Bubba Watson (35)

Group 11: Branden Grace (23) vs. Julian Suri (64)

Group 12: Tyrrell Hatton (12) vs. Brendan Steele (36)

Group 12: Charley Hoffman (22) vs. Alexander Levy (55)

Group 13: Alex Noren (13) def. Thomas Pieters (39), 5 and 4: Noren made quick work of Pieters in what could be a match of future Ryder Cup teammates. Noren built a 4-up lead after seven holes and then cruised from there, moving to 2-0 this week and eliminating Pieters. In 30 holes this week, Noren has made 12 birdies and no bogeys.

Group 13: Tony Finau (29) vs. Kevin Na (61)

Group 14: Phil Mickelson (14) vs. Satoshi Kodaira (40)

Group 14: Rafa Cabrera Bello (17) vs. Charles Howell III (59)

Group 15: Pat Perez (15) vs. Webb Simpson (37)

Group 15: Gary Woodland (24) vs. Si Woo Kim (50)

Group 16: Matt Kuchar (16) vs. Yuta Ikeda (47)

Group 16: Ross Fisher (27) vs. Zach Johnson (54)