By Michael Curet, PGATOUR.COM Contributor
Canadian Tour veteran Jeff Rangel posted six birdies and an eagle for a 64 to earn medalist honors in the Reno-Tahoe Open’s Monday qualifier at Hidden Valley Country Club.
Patrick Cantlay and Jake Sarnoff each carded rounds of 66 to play their way into this week’s PGA TOUR stop at Montreux Golf and Country Club.
But the real drama unfolded in the five-man playoff for the final spot. On the third playoff hole, local resident John Riegger, a 49-year-old experienced tour veteran, birdied the par-3 third hole to punch the final ticket into the field.
Riegger beat out Jeff Quinney, Peter Lansburgh, Brett Okimura, and Luke Hickmott. All five golfers birdied the first playoff hole and made par on the second.
Rangel, 27, competed in last year’s Reno-Tahoe Open – his only other career PGA TOUR start. The Californian has spent the last few years playing the Canadian Tour, but also won the 2011 Northern California Open in his home state.
The 20-year-old Cantlay, who turned professional earlier this year, has made 10 of 12 cuts on the PGA TOUR. While still an amateur in 2011, Cantlay shot the lowest amateur round in PGA TOUR history with a 60 at the Travelers Championship. He also posted his first career top 10 on the PGA TOUR with a T9 at the RBC Canadian Open last summer, was low amateur at the 2011 U.S. Open and made cuts at this year’s Masters and U.S. Open.
Sarnoff, a 22-year-old native of Manhattan Beach, Calif., just completed his senior season at Loyola Marymount University,
Riegger, who turned pro in 1985, is coming back from knee surgery and playing on a major medical exemption. The former Lamar University golfer has played his best golf after the age of 40 with Web.com Tour victories at the 2007 LaSalle Bank Open and the 2010 The Rex Hospital Open. His best PGA TOUR showing was a T5 finish at the 2006 John Deere Classic.
Sixty-six players participated in Monday’s qualifier at Hidden Valley.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Paul Casey entered the Wyndham Championship ranked 147th in the FedExCup. In a weird way, though, that might be working in his favor.
The Englishman feels like he has nothing to lose. So instead of obsessing over how many points he needs to earn to climb into the top 125 and earn a spot in the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, Casey has his eye squarely on the Sam Snead Trophy.
The approach appears to be working, too. Casey fired a 65 on Thursday that left him two strokes off the lead held by Jeff Quinney and Tommy Gainey -- and as a byproduct of that success, he's projected to climb 25 spots to No. 122 in the FedExCup.
"I've got nothing to lose this week," Casey said. "So I'm trying
to put myself in a position to win this golf event. I believe I got
to be top four to seal a place for next week and there are top-10
situations, depending on what other guys do.
"So, I'd love to be part of that. I don't need to get too far ahead, don't need to start thinking about that on a Thursday. For me it's focusing on today and I did a very good job of that, actually. I really went out there very relaxed and -- yeah, I didn't get too caught up in sort of worrying about FedEx stuff.
"Because I'm not on the bubble, quite a way outside, I don't need to worry about it quite as much. ... I'm going to go ahead and enjoy and put myself in a position to win it."
ON THE WAY UP
JEFF QUINNEY: No longer fully exempt on TOUR, Quinney is making just his 11th start this year. As a result, he came to Greensboro ranked 215th in the FedExCup and in real danger of missing the Playoffs for the second straight season. A year ago, it was a real heartbreaker, too -- Quinney finished at No. 126, two strokes shy of advancing. On Thursday, though, Quinney fired a 63 that left him tied for the lead with Tommy Gainey and he's currently projected at No. 79. a prodigious jump of 136 spots.
"The only chance I get in the Playoffs is probably winning this week and coming with the attitude of ... basically just push all your chips in and this is what I got," Quinney said., "It's my last chance and don't hold back, try to get out of my own way."
ERNIE ELS: The South African has played in every Playoffs event during the first four years of the FedExCup. In fact, he was ranked No. 1 entering The Barclays last year. Els has struggled with his putter this year, though, and he added Greensboro to his schedule -- making his first apppearance since 1997 -- because he found himself ranked No. 126, trailing Camilo Villegas by .437 of a point. He opened with a 65, though, and projects to move up 17 spots.
"I say to the guys my playoffs have started this week, because
if I don't play well this week I'm not advancing," Els said. "So
most of the other guys have four playoff events, I've got five. I
feel like I need to do well and enough to get to The Barclays and
It's hard not to think about it. There's quite a bit of pressure on us guys lower down the field. You need to perform well."
JUSTIN LEONARD: The Texan, who tied for third at last year's Wyndham Championship, opened with a solid round of 66 on Thursday. Leonard finished Thursday night projected as the bubble boy, which would make a move of 17 spots.
"I'm trying to build a little bit of momentum," Leonard said. "Obviously it's been a disappointing and frustrating year but my game has been better the last few weeks. I haven't been able to get really good scores out of it and so, you know, I would love to play well this week and make the Playoffs but really just I want to kind of build the things on I'm working on and see if some good things happen and I'm going to play a few events in the fall. Hopefully, I'd certainly like to be playing next week."
HEADED IN THE WRONG DIRECTION
CAMILO VILLEGAS: He came into the week as the bubble boy at No. 125 and shot an even-par 70. He battled back from bogeys at his first two holes, but couldn't get anything going. As a result, Villegas projects to fall six spots in the rankings and is also in danger of missing the cut.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: The Irishman was the last player to commit to the Wyndham Championship, making his decision after the second round of the PGA Championship and delaying what would have been a family vacation to the Bahamas. He came to Greensboro for the first time ever ranked No. 130 in the FedExCup and didn't help his standing in Round 1. Harrington played well early on Thursday, making the turn 3 under but he ended up shooting a 71 that left him in a tie for 71st.
CAMERON BECKMAN: Beckman didn't do himself any favors on Thursday with a late string of three straight bogeys on his back nine en route to a 73. He's tied for 135th at the Wyndham Championship, as a result, and projects to drop from No. 124 to 129th in the FedExCUp standings. He'll likely need to go low on Friday to have a chance.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Jeff Quinney and Lee Janzen played together on Thursday during the first round of the Wyndham Championship. They had rounds that were almost mirror images of each other, too.
Quinney got hot on the back nine, which was their first of the day, and made five straight birdies, starting at the 12th hole. Janzen, on the other hand, got on a roll on the front and he drained five consecutive birdie putts beginning at No. 3.
"We kind of had opposite hot nines," Quinney acknowledged. "...
We were both 6 going into the last hole. He ended up three-putting.
I ended up birdieing it. Our group saw a lot of putts go in the
hole. ... You could see a positive shot down the middle every time.
Sometimes we need to see that.
"When you see somebody in front of you hit a good shot it's easy to follow that. We had a good group and good time chatting out there and fed off one another."
Quinney, who ranks 215th in the FedExCup, owns the lead at 7 under while Janzen is among a big group tied for second at 5 under. The third member of their group, Charles Warren, ended up shooting a 67, as well.
Janzen said players come to Sedgefield knowing they need to shoot low scores to survive. Seeing Quinney get on a roll might have helped the veteran get untracked on the front nine, as well.
"I don't know if that had anything to do with it or not but, you know, even making some birdies and going along and, you know, over the last few years we know there's going to be some low scores," said Janzen, who stands 173rd in the FedExCup.
"Not much wind, the greens are soft. The speed of the greens you can be aggressive once you're on them. I decided to stay patient and hit good shots and hit good putts and hopefully a few were going to fall in and it just happened to be that I had five in a row."
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- Jeff Quinney came up one spot short of making the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup last fall.
Then in the q-school finals three months later, he came up one shot short of securing his TOUR card for 2011.
Now having to scramble for opportunities to play in any TOUR event this year, he was able to make a few starts but just missed making the field as the first alternate at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in Feburary and the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in late April.
Notice a trend here?
"Missing by one -- that's been my story the last six months," Quinney said.
But perhaps his luck is turning. Making just his fourth TOUR start this year, Quinney produced a 4-under 66 that gave him a share of the early lead in Thursday’s first round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
He credited his hot putter with producing his low round on a TPC Four Seasons Resort course that doesn't exactly play to his strengths. The course is long, and Quinney's strengths are his irons and short game.
Of course, when you have the kind of putting day that Quinney had Thursday -- he needed just 22 putts, nine on the front side -- you can go low almost anywhere.
"It's been a while," Quinney said when asked when the last time he felt this good with the putter. "I made an adjustment in my setup as of late yesterday afternoon. Just the way I'm setting up. I used to putt like this and have rounds like this, and it's one of those times when you're like, when are we going to have one of those hot days?
"I just came back, and you're trying to make good putts on all the greens, and it's a good feeling to have."
Quinney hasn't received many chances to enjoy those good feelings this year. His exempt status this year is 146th on last year's money list, so he can’t set his own schedule. For the most part, he must rely on sponsor invites and Monday qualifiers.
This week, he's on a sponsor’s invite that he received well ahead of time, one of the few tournaments that he could plan on playing.
"With the amount of medicals and the guys playing off career money, I haven't gotten as many starts as I thought," Quinney said. ". . . It's been a real struggle. Definitely a test of patience."
To keep his game sharp, he's played four tournaments on the Nationwide Tour this year but has finished no better than a tie for 39th. In his first three starts on the PGA TOUR, he's made two cuts, including a tie for 13th at the Mayakoba Golf Classic at Riviera-Maya Cancun.
The challenge of such an uncertain schedule not only is the physical nature of making sure his game is tournament-ready but also the mental focus of staying confident and not getting frustrated.
And of course, there's the pressure of feeling the need to maximize every opportunity that arises. He can’t afford a bad week.
"It's one of those deals where you can't goof around. You've got to concentrate and I think that's in a good way," Quinney said. "Sometimes you can play three or four weeks in a row, not get too upset about missing a cut. 'OK, there's always next week.'
"Maybe there is no next week here. You've got to bear down and grind it out."
Quinney is 32 and still looking for his first PGA TOUR win. This is the 132nd start of his career; he's had a couple of second-place finishes. Opening with a 66 on Thursday is nice, but he needs to keep pushing. It won't be easy on a course that does not suit him.
But he remains optimistic.
"I know I can play out here," Quinney said. "I just have to stay patient and take advantage of my starts."
He certainly took advantage of it on Thursday.
The scenario is simple for Sergio Garcia: Win this week and he’ll climb into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking and qualify for the British Open. Thursday, he took a pretty good step toward that with an opening-round 66 at TPC Four Seasons.
Joining Garcia in the clubhouse at 66 are Dustin Johnson and Jeff Quinney.
The most impressive of those 66s had to be Johnson’s. He had a double bogey on his second hole of the day, No. 11, where he hit his tee shot into the water, but he then reeled off six birdies and no bogeys the rest of the round.
Quinney, meanwhile, is making just his fourth start of the season on the PGA TOUR -- he finished 146th on last year’s money list and has conditional status. In those three previous starts, his best finish was a tie for 13th in Mexico.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- Jeff Quinney, looking for his first PGA TOUR win this week in his 132nd career start, opened Thursday's first round with five birdies in his first nine holes to take a share of the early lead at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
Quinney went out in 4-under 31 at the TPC Four Seasons Resort, thanks in large part to a string of three consecutive birdies starting at the fourth hole (including a birdie at the fifth when he rolled in a putt from 42 feet). He was at 5 under on his round after a birdie at the 10th hole but dropped a stroke at the 12th and is now 4 under.
Scott Piercy is also at 4 under through eight holes after making four consecutive birdies.
Brandt Jobe, a former TPC Four Seasons member who still lives in the area, also went out in 31 and is now 3 under on his round.
Among the notables near the top of the leaderboard are Dustin Johnson and Sergio Garcia, both at 2 under after just making the turn. Garcia made eagle at the par-4 10th when he holed out from the primary rough from 115 yards.
K.J. Choi, making his first start since winning THE PLAYERS Championship two weeks ago, is at 1 under through his first 10 holes.
Andres Romero has had an interesting round. He opened with a double bogey, bogeyed two of the next three holes, made par at the next hole, then reeled off four straight birdies to make the turn at even par.
Due to weather issues earlier in the week, players are being allowed to play preferred lies on closely mown areas through the green on Thursday.
According to the notice given to competitors, if a player's ball lies on a loosely mown area -- an area cut to fairway height or less -- through the green, the player may mark, lift and clean his ball without penalty. The player can place his ball on a spot within one club length of the original spot.
Following a fourth-round 66, Will MacKenzie was in position to make a run at regaining his PGA TOUR card for next season. But a pair of 71s to close left MacKenzie four strokes short of finishing in the top 25 on Monday. Making matters worse for MacKenzie is the fact that he finished 152nd on the money list this season.
In other words, MacKenzie will be spending 2011 on the Nationwide Tour.
While MacKenzie put together seven birdies and just one bogey in that fourth round, he was never able to get anything going the last two days, especially Monday when he managed just two birdies, one bogey and 15 pars on what was a difficult day of scoring because of chilly temperatures and high winds.
MacKenzie was hardly the only player to suffer that fate, however. Jeff Quinney, who nearly won THE PLAYERS Championship two years ago, closed with a 74 to tumble out of the top 25 as well after beginning the day in a tie for 16th.
Quinney was ultimately done in by bogeys on Nos. 15 and 16 on the Crooked Cat Course as he finished the round 2 over and at 8 under for the week -- two strokes off the number he needed to be at.
Who knows if this will hold up, but Jeff Quinney is now the FedExCup bubble boy. He didn’t go particularly low on Sunday – shooting a 68 – but he has moved up two spots to No. 125.
Quinney left a 31-footer for birdie at the 18th hole 9 inches short that would have given him some breathing room. Not to mention, he made three bogeys in a four-hole stretch that began at the 11th hole.
So we’ll see what happens.
Ten players made the cut on the number at 3 under and half of them are currently ranked outside the top 125 in the FedExCup.
One of those is Jeff Quinney, who started ranked No. 127 but is making a move on Saturday. He's 6 under through 16 holes and 10 under for the tournament.
Nearly half of the 78 players who made the cut, 35 to be exact, entered the week on the outside looking in. It should be an interesting weekend at Sedgefield.
Moving day takes on a whole new meaning this week with plenty of guys who could be moving in -- or out -- of the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup picture. Here’s a look at the players closest to getting in and what they need to do (excluding win since that guarantees nearly anyone in the field a spot).
-- This is Henrik Stenson’s first Wyndham Championship and at 133rd in the standings, he obviously needs to be here. In order to advance to next week, though, the 2009 PLAYERS champion needs to finish 13th or better, something that’s unlikely seeing as how he’s outside the top 100 on the leaderboard right now.
-- Mike Weir began his week just six points out of the final spot in the top 125 and he got off to a good start with a 67 in the first round (he’s even through four holes today). In order for Weir to make the Playoffs, he’ll need to finish 44th or better.
-- Jeff Quinney started the week one spot behind Weir, in 127th and only 22 points out of the final spot. He needs to finish 27th or better. Quinney is in good shape after opening with a 65, but he needs to start marking some birdies after playing his first five holes today in even par.
-- Jay Williamson hit all 18 greens in the opening round en route to a 65. Currently ranked 147th in the standings, Williamson will need to finish fifth or better, however, to have any chance of making the Playoffs. He’s tumbled down the board in the second round, playing his first five holes in 2 over. -- Brian Wacker