Short pulls ahead at midway point of Q-SchoolA strong close combined with some other stubmels helped Wes Short Jr. to the 36-hole lead.November 20, 2013
By Phil Stambaugh, Champions Tour staff
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Wes Short, Jr. made birdies on his last two holes and was the beneficiary of mishaps on the 18th by both Doug Garwood and Bill Glasson. As a result, Short’s 5-under 66 Wednesday moved him one stroke ahead of both players after 36 holes of the Champions Tour’s National Qualifying Tournament at TPC Scottsdale.
Short stands at 12-under 130 through two rounds on the Champions Course. His seven-birdie second round included a two-putt birdie from 40 feet at the par-5 17th and a 12-foot birdie putt at No. 18 that moved him in front.
“I just didn’t drive it as well today as I did yesterday," Short said. "Luckily I hit a few good shots coming in. I'm in the mix now so I won’t need to have to shoot a 64 tomorrow to get back in it. It makes it much easier to try and play conservatively aggressive tomorrow if that makes sense.”
Short, a winner on the PGA TOUR at the 2005 Michelin Championship at Las Vegas, played this past year on the PGA TOUR through a Major Medical Extension after lingering back issues had forced him to the sidelines over the last three seasons. The 49-year-old native of Austin, Texas who turns 50 on Dec. 4 came into this week with good vibes about playing in the desert. “It takes a bit of getting used to and the ball travels different distances throughout the day depending on the temperatures. It’s a little harder to adjust to how you should hit your irons but I’ve done pretty good with that so far this week,” he said.
Glasson was playing flawless golf for his first 35 holes and it appeared that he would be the sole 36-hole leader until trouble at the 18th hole derailed him. The seven-time PGA TOUR winner whose victories included the 1994 Phoenix Open, pulled a 5-iron second shot from a sidehill lie into the water left of the green and it led to a double-bogey. He signed for a 67 and dropped back to 11-under for the first two rounds.
“I lost my focus coming in and hit a poor shot at the end," Glasson said. "I couldn’t quite hold it together.”
Glasson finished 33rd on the 2013 money list giving him access to many tournaments in 2014, but he is using this event as a way to improve his access, especially early in the year.
“This is what we do," he said. "This is my last opportunity to play this year, possibly until who knows when. I don’t know if I’ll get into the first few tournaments. Even though we are not talking about a huge number of tournaments, it’s when I will get in that’s important to me. I really want to play early."
After Glasson’s debacle on the final hole, it appeared as if Garwood, a two-time All-America selection from Fresno State who played three full years on the Web.com Tour, would seize the lead. However, Garwood also faltered on the finishing hole, making bogey after missing the green to the right and then hitting a poor pitch for his third shot. Garwood’s roller-coaster round of 67 included consecutive eagles on the par-5 9th and 10th holes as well as a bogey one hole later and then a double-bogey at the par-4 12th hole when he flew the green with a 9-iron shot and flubbed his pitch shot. Garwood’s first eagle came when his 3-wood second shot on No. 9 stopped five feet from the hole. At the par-5 10th hole, he rifled a 4-iron second shot to within nine feet and holed the putt.
“It was exciting to make consecutive eagles but overall it was quite the up-and-down day,” the Stevenson Ranch, Calif. resident said. “As soon as I had the high of the two eagles, I had the low of the bogey/double-bogey stretch. It felt like 63-74 but it actually came out to a 67. Overall, I was looking to shoot something like I did. Coming off the low round I had yesterday, it’s always a little tougher to follow up with another low round. I have room for improvement because I made some mistakes out there.”
After turning 50 in March, Garwood played five tournaments on the 2013 Champions Tour. He finished T7 in his debut on the circuit at The Principal Charity Classic after open qualifying into the tournament. He also successfully qualified to get into the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach and finished T2 on the Monterey Peninsula.
There was no cut in the 72-hole qualifier. At the end of 72 holes, the top-5 finishers earn fully exempt status through the re-order in the 2014 season, while the next seven players will be conditionally exempt. In addition, the top 30 finishers and ties will be eligible to compete for spots in open qualifiers at all co-sponsored events on the Champions Tour in 2014.
Q-School Notes: PGA TOUR/Web.com Tour veteran Scott Dunlap shot the low round on Wednesday, a 7-under 64, and he vaulted 28 spots into a tie for fifth…Jeff Coston made the biggest move of any player in the field, jumping 33 spots into a tie for ninth after posting a 6-under 65, five strokes better than his round on Tuesday… England’s Barry Lane, a winner of the 1995 Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf at nearby Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, made six consecutive birdies en route to a 4-under 67. Lane is tied with Argentina’s Eduardo Romero for the most birdies through the first two rounds (13)…P.H Horgan is the only player in the 78-player field without a bogey thus far. He’s currently T5 thanks to an eagle and seven birdies…With ideal weather conditions for a second straight day, the field scoring average was sub-70 again, dropping from 69.628 in the opening round to 69.410… Through two rounds, the hardest hole has been the par-4 18th (4.288), yielding just 16 birdies.