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Marino hopes to convert 'Hail Mary' at Desert Classic

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A Marino is looking to pull off a "Hail Mary" Sunday in the California desert.

Steve Marino, 38, is burning the final start of his major medical extension to compete in this week's Desert Classic. The veteran, who has battled numerous injuries during his 222-start PGA Tour career, needs around 260 FedExCup points to keep his card. That means he'll need a solo second or better in La Quinta to fulfill his major-medical requirements.

A tall task, indeed, but Marino has a shot.

Playing PGA West's Nicklaus Tournament Course on Saturday, Marino made four birdies before chipping in for eagle at the par-5 seventh hole, his 16th of the round. The clutch performance netted Marino a 5-under 67 that moved him into solo fourth at 18 under. He is two shots back of second-place Adam Hadwin.


Full-field scores from the Desert Classic

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Marino doesn't have much of a safety net if he fails to achieve his goal, as his status would be limited at best. He certainly wouldn't have the luxury of some other recent players in his situation.

Michael Thompson couldn't satisfy his major medical at the RSM Classic, coming about 53 points shy, but he was able to earn status via the Web.com Tour Finals last year. And Dominic Bozzelli ended up sputtering down the stretch at the Sony Open, tying for 33rd and falling about 86 points short, though the Auburn product still has conditional status.

Coincidentally, both Thompson and Bozzelli are in the top 10 through 54 holes of the Desert Classic. Thompson shot 7-under 65 Saturday on PGA West's Stadium Course to move to 17 under, just a shot lower than Bozzelli, who fired an 8-under 64 in Round 3 at La Quinta Country Club.