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December 2 2011

10:30 PM

McGirt hoping third time a charm

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William McGirt is 8 under through the first three rounds at q-school.

By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM

LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Earlier this year, William McGirt snuck into the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup when Justin Leonard missed a 13-foot par putt on the final hole of the Wyndham Championship. Now the putter is in McGirt’s hands in the final stage of q-school.

So far, so good. McGirt is 8 under and well inside the top 25 on the leaderboard through the first three rounds of the six-day tournament. Not that McGirt, in his third straight trip to the final stage of q-school, is all that interested.

“All I want to know is how many shots out of the lead am I because I’m trying to win this darn thing,” McGirt said after shooting a 2-under 70 on Friday. “I don’t want to finish 25th.”

It’s interesting logic from McGirt, and also different than most because all that matters in terms of getting a PGA TOUR card for next season is finishing in the top 25. McGirt’s thinking, however, is that if he’s trying to win and doesn’t then he has a lot better chance of being in the top 25.

After what McGirt’s been through, however, it’s easy to understand where he’s coming from. Three straight years in the second stage of q-school he had a putt on the last hole to reach the final stage. Three straight times he missed it with his ball twice lipping out and another time burning the edge. Last year, he successfully navigated the final stage and tied for second. The year before, he didn’t, tying for 90th.

It’s moments like these why McGirt’s wife, Sarah, stayed home.

“The thing out here is [bleep] happens,” said McGirt, who added that one trip to q-school at Bear Lakes in 2009 was enough for his wife. “You think you know someone really well, but out here you see a different side of people. Sometimes you have to get it out of your system. I’ve slammed my share of clubs. You can’t let it build up inside of you. You have to let it out sometime.”

Translation: Q-school is “the longest six days of your life,” McGirt said.

And even though he has partial status after finishing 141st on the money list, that’s not enough for McGirt.

“Everybody know what’s on the line here,” said McGirt, who has bounced around mini tours and the Nationwide Tour in recent years. “l’m fortunate that I have some starts next year, but they’re probably not going to be the ones I want to play.

“I want to get my job back full time. I feel the second time around is going to be a whole lot better.”

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