By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Q-school has plenty of pressure all on its own. Add in winds consistently in the 20-25 mph range -- with gusts as high as 50 -- and scoring has taken on a whole new meaning here in the second round. Case in point: As of this moment, only nine players have recorded rounds in the 60s. Seven more players failed to break 80, including Brendan Pappas, who shot 86 -- currently the highest score in the books Thursday.
As for the leaderboard, there’s still a long way to go here in the second of six rounds at PGA West. Matt Jones, however, was one of those players to break 70, carding a 68 on the Stadium Course to earn a share of the lead at 9 under. Harris English and Will Claxton are also 9 under, but they are still on the golf course.
Some other notable names in the top 25 on the leaderboard: Billy Hurley III, Vaughn Taylor, Jeff Maggert, Dean Wilson, Bob Estes, Troy Merritt, Adam Hadwin and Sam Saunders.
Matt Jones came into the Frys.com Open ranked 123rd on the PGA TOUR's money list. He'll need to stay inside the top 125 through the end of the Fall Series in order to secure his TOUR card for 2012.
With that kind of motivation, maybe it's no surprise that Jones got off to a good start Thursday, shooting an opening 3-under 68 to put himself among the leaders.
After his round, though, the Australian remained cautious. After all, he started last week's event in Las Vegas with a 65 but shot 75 the next day and failed to make the cut at TPC Summerlin.
"If I do what I know I can do, it won't be any problem," Jones said about keeping his TOUR status. "It's just a matter of me putting two rounds and then four rounds together. Last week I got off to a great start and then had a tough second day, so just have to come out here tomorrow and play well and see what happens."
It's been a strange year for Jones. After finishing tied for 19th at THE PLAYERS Championship in May, he ranked 73rd on the money list and seemingly had plenty of momentum with three consecutive top-25 finishes.
But in his 10 starts since then, he's missed nine cuts. His only made cut was a tie for 25th at the Reno-Tahoe Open.
"I've played terrible after THE PLAYERS," Jones said. "I think I missed every cut, maybe made one. And to still be top 125 right now is good, but it also tells you that you shouldn't be in this situation right now either.
"But three weeks left to do well and go from there."
Jhonattan Vegas shoots an 8-under 63 to tie William McGirt for the overnight lead.
On Friday afternoon at the Wyndham Championship, the suspense isn’t as much at the top of the leaderboard as it is on the cut line.
Tommy Gainey hasn’t moved from the top spot all day after his morning 65, which moved him to 12 under for the week. Ernie Els is making a late run, at 10 under with one hole to play, but more than likely “Two Gloves” will lead going into Saturday.
But it’s who might not play at all Saturday that is interesting. The cut has been fluctuating between 3 under and 2 under, and if 3 under wins out some players’ hopes for the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup will be dashed. Take Matt Jones – he was No. 122 coming into the week but is currently projected at No. 127. Missing the cut, of course, won’t allow him to gain any ground so he’d be out of the Playoffs (the top 125 qualify for The Barclays, the first Playoffs event).
Billy Mayfair is also at 2 under and projects to No. 119, down from the No. 113 spot he claimed before the Wyndham began. He may turn out to be safe for the Playoffs, but it would make for a nervous weekend if all he can do is watch the scoreboard and not play.
Vaughn Taylor is always happy to be back in Reno. The two-time Reno-Tahoe Open champion (2004, ‘05) is off to another good start at Montreux Golf and Country Club, sitting at 4 under through 14 holes in a bogey-free round so far.
The pace is being set at 5 under right now, with Nick O’Hern, Chris Riley and Dean Wilson at that mark. Wilson, in particular, could use a good week to solidify his date with the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup. He’s 123rd in points.
If you’re wondering about the cutoff man at No. 125, that’s Australian Matt Jones. He’s 1 over through 10 holes in Reno.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Before the horn blew Saturday afternoon, six players were fortunate to finish the third round. Of course they were only able to do so because they were well off the lead and had an early tee time.
Of those already in the clubhouse, Aussie Matt Jones had the best round, a 3-under 69, to jump 22 spots on the leaderboard and into a tie for 38th at the moment.
Zach Johnson also finished his round, shooting a second straight 70, while Scott Verplank and Carl Pettersson each shot 71.
Last year’s Kodak Challenge winner Troy Merritt shot 73, while Kevin Chappell, who got into the tournament when Jeff Maggert withdrew with an injury, struggled to an 80.