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.
Dean Wilson withdrew after 13 holes Thursday, citing a wrist injury.
Wilson was 5 over at the time, but the bigger problem for Wilson is that he won’t advance to the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, which begin next week. Wilson entered the week 128th in the standings. Only the top 125 will advance.
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.
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. -- Dean Wilson is the early clubhouse leader after carding a 3-under 67 Thursday at Aronimink.
That might not sound very low, or you might think the chances of it holding up are slim, but considering Aronimink ranked as the fourth-toughest course on the PGA TOUR last year (and second-toughest non-major venue), it just might stand. Wilson made two birdies, an eagle and a bogey.
It’s been an up-and-down year for Wilson, who came into this week having missed three of his last five cuts. But he’s also had some good weeks, like at the Valero Texas Open, where he tied for 11th, and at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, where he was in contention after a second-round 64 before finishing 71-75 on the weekend.
Wilson also got some help from his instructor Andy Plummer -- one half of the stack-and-tilt guys -- who used to be a teaching pro here at Aronimink.
“I think I have a good grasp on how tough this course is, so I'm really happy with 3 under,” said Wilson, who has played this course a number of times before. “I think with the rain earlier in the week, for us this morning and probably for the guys later today, it's going to be a little easier to hold the fairways. You're not going to have too many roll through the fairways or even on the greens, but if the weather stays like this I'm sure it'll firm up and by the end of the week it'll be pretty tough to control your shots.”
Bad news for all those players who were safely inside the cut line at even par: The cut just moved to 1 under at TPC Louisiana. That means Pat Perez and Jeff Klauk, among others, are now on the outside looking in as the second round winds down.
Meanwhile, now one has been able to catch Bubba Watson, but Dean Wilson has skyrocketed up the leaderboard after playing his first 17 holes in 8 under. He’s now 7 under and tied for fourth with five others.
It’s early in the round with only 35 players having made their way through the gauntlet that is the raucous par-3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale, but if play there so far is any indication don’t expect to see many birdies.
So far, there have only been two birdies -- by Dean Wilson and Angel Cabrera -- on the 170-yard hole.
That said, there have also only been two bogeys. and just one double bogey, and the hole is playing to a scoring average of 3.057 (currently fifth most-difficult). The best shot there all day? Cabrera, who hit it to 1 foot, 9 inches.
Through the first rounds, Boo Weekley made just two bogeys. Here in the third round, he’s already equaled that mark in just his first nine holes on Siler Rock. As a result, Weekley, the overnight co-leader, has fallen into a tie for eighth after making the turn in 37.
The problem for Weekley? Putting. After rolling it extremely well through his first two rounds, when he averaged just over 1.5 putts per green in regulation, he’s averaging two putts through the first nine holes today.
Weekley is also the only player in the top 25 currently over par on the round.
Meanwhile, Kris Blanks and Dean Wilson are moving in the opposite direction -- they’re both 5 under in the third round (12 under for the week) and have climbed 22 spots on the leaderboard as a result.
Dean Wilson is another player who could have solved his playing status for next year. All he had to do was hang on to his four-shot lead after 54 holes at the RBC Canadian Open. Alas, he shot 72 and watched as Carl Pettersson shot 67 and won by a stroke.
The victory would have given Wilson the card he lost after the 2009 season. Instead, he was back asking for sponsor invites for tournaments. Since the disappointment in Canada, Wilson has made it into just six events, with a pair of top-25s. Still, he's 122nd on the money list, and a top-10 this week would erase any doubt about his status for next year.
He may do more than that. Wilson's 64 early Friday has him at 9 under and projected to move all the way to 67th on the money list. He is first in greens hit this week at CordeValle -- he's missed just three of his first 36 greens.
To this day, Wilson remains the answer to a very curious trivia question: Who is the only current PGA TOUR player whose lone win didn't come in stroke play format? Wilson won THE INTERNATIONAL in 2006 -- the final year the Stableford-format event was held -- and he hasn't won since.