For a guy whose name sounds like royalty, Roland Thatcher IV doesn’t have a lot of pretentions.
Take this exchange, for example.
Question: It just doesn't seem right that a guy with two Roman numerals at the end of his name should be worried about the money mist. Shouldn't you be running a family business?
Answer: No. We come from a long line of auto workers and Navy families. My father was a retired airline pilot. I might have an in as a baggage handler at Southwest if I had to. But no, the name as pretentious as it is, my wife and I decided to stop that right there. We didn't pass that one on to my son.
As hilarious as the question and answer were, Thatcher does indeed have a future to worry about. Ranked 179th on the money list, he needs at least a solo second to secure his card for next season.
In the lead at 16 under and halfway through the season-ending Children’s Miracle Network Classic, Thatcher is in position to do just that. Though this wasn’t something the 33-year-old expected, not with just one top-10 this year.
“I shot 65 yesterday and really didn't make a whole lot of putts. I hit it very close to the hole a lot during that round,” Thatcher said. “Today, I just really made a lot more putts than is usual for me. I didn't hit it inside of five feet all day. I actually made a good number of 15 to 20‑footers, and that's how you turn a ball‑striking round of 67 into 63. If I can do that two more days, it's going to be a really special week.”
Indeed it will. Thatcher is currently fourth in the field in putting and needed just 24 putts on Friday in what was his lowest score of year. Playing with Chris Stroud, who shot 62-70 the first two rounds, also helped.
“We got a fair chance to be paired again tomorrow, and we couldn't ask for anything better because for whatever reason, this week it seems that we're playing well off each other,” Thatcher said. “I don't know what our best ball would have been yesterday, somewhere in the 50s, and I imagine it probably would have been somewhere in the 50s again today. But when you see guys going out and playing well and making putts, it gives you a little bit better feeling that you can do the same.”
Pun intended, a win here by Thatcher would be Cinderella-type stuff -- and he’s just fine with that.
“When I've had good weeks, I've managed to keep them going,” Thatcher said. “That should give me a lot of confidence heading into the weekend.” -- Brian Wacker