By Michael Curet, PGATOUR.COM contributor
Two-time PGA TOUR winner Len Mattiace shot 68 in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba Monday qualifier at Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club in Cancun, Mexico.
The 46-year-old Jacksonville, Fla., native and Wake Forest product shared medalist honors with Tag Ridings and Jay McLuen.
Another TOUR veteran, Tim Petrovic, earned the other spot in the field with a 1-under 70.
Mattiace, who won twice on TOUR in 2002 (Nissan Open, St. Jude Classic), will be playing his first TOUR event since the True South Classic in 2012 when he tied for 31st.
In 2003, playing in his first Masters as a professional, Mattiace finished runner-up to Mike Weir. Later that year, Mattiace injured both knees in a skiing accident and required surgery.
Mattiace eventually lost his card and hasn’t been a full-time member since 2006.
His comeback continued and in 2013 he posted three top 10s on the Web.com Tour and earned a trip to The Finals.
The 39-year-old Ridings is a veteran of 103 cuts made on TOUR, including finishing third or better four times in his career. His closest shot at victory came in the 2004 Michelin Championship of Las Vegas, where he finished runner-up.
Ridings played full-time on the TOUR in 2013 and tied for ninth at the Greenbrier Classic. After the reshuffle, Ridings finished 29th in the Web.com Tour Championship in late September.
For 33-year-old Jay McLuen, his relentless pursuit of playing on the PGA TOUR received a huge shot in the arm by qualifying Monday.
In his only other TOUR event since turning pro in 2000, the Wisconsin native missed the cut in his only start of his career earlier this year at the Travelers Championship. He has six career starts on the Web.com Tour, has been a veteran of the mini-tours and has worked as a golf instructor in between.
Petrovic, another former TOUR member, won the Zurich Classic in 2005 and has 195 cuts made during hiis career. He nearly won a second time on TOUR but was beaten by Mattiace at the 2002 Nissan Open.
The 47-year-old finished in a tie for 17th in late September in his last outing at the Web.com Tour Championship at Dye’s Valley.
This week’s Kodak Challenge hole is the 347-yard, par-4 17th at TPC San Antonio. This is the second year that the course has hosted the Valero Texas Open, so there’s not much data on which players you should expect to do well at the 17th.
But here’s a look at the players in this week’s field who fared the best last year at the 17th.
17TH AT TPC SAN ANTONIO – 2010 LEADERS
|Player||Relation to Par||Rounds||Eagles||Birdies||Pars||Bogeys|
|J.B. Holmes||3 under||4||-||3||1||-|
|Garth Mulroy||3 under||4||-||3||1||-|
|Tim Petrovic||3 under||4||-||3||1||-|
A LOOK AT THE 17TH
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Tim Petrovic withdrew after playing nine holes of the second round on Saturday, citing an illness.
Petrovic had opened with an even par 71. He clearly struggled on Saturday when he wasn’t feeling well, though, making one birdie, one par, six bogeys and one double bogey before making the early exit.
The story of the morning wave and very likely the day was the display that Roland Thatcher put on at the Magnolia Course, shooting a 63 that has him atop the leaderboard at 16 under and four shots clear of his closest competitor.
Thatcher has just one top-10 this season and needs to finish in at least second place by himself to get inside the top 125 on the money list (he’s currently 179th with just one-top 10 this year). Friday, he hit 15 of 18 greens and took just 24 putts on his way to nine birdies and no bogeys.
”Pun intended, I wouldn't mind being referred to as Cinderella for the week,” said Thatcher, who admitted that he was okay with going to the second stage of q-school next week. Obviously his goals have now changed.
“After these first two rounds that I'd like to skip second stage finals if I can,” Thatcher said. “I'm hoping to have a nice long off season and start the year early next year.”
STROUD’S STRONG FINISH: Thatcher’s playing partner the first two rounds was Chris Stroud, who began the day with the lead after an opening-round 62. Friday, he didn’t come close to matching that with a 70, but three straight birdies to close out his round left him within reach of Thatcher.
“Any time you finish birdie, birdie, birdie on this golf course, the Magnolia, you're really happy,” said Stroud, who seven birdies -- and four bogeys -- despite hitting just eight fairways. “I’m just trying to get the ball on the green because I'm putting so well, and I just hung in there, got myself on the fairway the last three holes and got it on the green and made three great putts.”
PETROVIC’S ACE: At just 6 under through two rounds, Tim Petrovic isn’t exactly in contention, but he did have the shot of the day so far with a hole-in-one on the par-3 12th on the Palm Course.
Petrovic said he’s made 12 aces but thought this was his first on the PGA TOUR. “And it's been 10 years,” he added. “I think my last one was in 2000.
Actually, it wasn’t his first ace on TOUR. That came in 2004 at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in 2004.
“But I’m not complaining because I've had three double eagles out here,” Petrovic added. “I think I'm the only guy out here with three double eagles.” -- Brian Wacker
Tim Petrovic hits a guidewire with his tee shot on the par-4 10th and was able to re-tee without a penalty:
Tim Petrovic hits a guidewire with his tee shot on the par-4 10th.
Tim Petrovic dropped a 6-footer for birdie on the par-5 18th, this week’s Kodak Challenge hole, to move to 12-under-par and within two of Rickie Fowler’s lead.
The 18th has played much more difficult here in Round 2 -- currently ranking ninth, compared to 14th on Thursday -- with a scoring average of 5.015 and just 12 birdies so far. Thursday, it played to a scoring average of 4.871 with 42 birdies. -- Chuck Beeler