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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Q School Final Round Preview

I apologize for not having a post yesterday.  I will jump right in with a final round preview of all of the competitors currently in the Top 25 and ties headed into the final round as well as a few people to keep an eye on just outside.  It is extremely hard to predict who will be able to handle their nerves, but I'll give it a try mainly using the following criteria.  The final round weather is suppose to be very windy, so scoring should be similar to that of rounds 2 and 4.  A player who managed steady rounds those days should be given consideration.  Also, I will be cautioned by players who didn't play well in the 5th round because there were low numbers everywhere.  A poor round 5 warns me that nerves are playing a factor and that won't get better in the final round.

Top 25 and ties entering the final round:
  1. Marco Dawson - In first place by himself and played well under par in the 2nd and 4th rounds.  Q School and PGA Tour veteran; no way he doesn't advance easily.  He should finish inside the top 3.
  2. Stephen Gangluff - Played second and fourth rounds in -1 and no sign of nerves in round 5.  No rounds over par all week and currently in 2nd place and has plenty of margin for error.  I don't see him falling out of a top 10 at worst, but should get a top 5.
  3. Harris English - Every round under par and shot 67 & 70 in rounds 2 and 4.  Another no doubter to advance and I would expect a top 5.  He's probably Dawson's only real challenger to medalist honors.
  4. Brendon Todd - Todd's followed a model I like in Q School and that's a string of steady rounds with all of them par or under.  Lowest round is a 68 and highest is a 71.  I don't see him shooting a 76 after that and that's about what it would take for him to even get close to the danger zone.  I'd expect him in the 3-8 range at the end of Monday.
  5. Jarrod Lyle - currently T5 and has shot 3 68's in the good weather and 72 / 73 in the bad.  With a little bit of a cushon and a steady track record, he should be fine.  Probably in the 7 to 15 range.
  6. Brian Harmon - currently T5, every round under par except the 4th (the hardest of the first 5 rounds) and that round was still only a 74; so not a total collapse.  I like him to advance, but his position might retreat a little.  I like him in the 12 to 15 range.
  7. Vaughn Taylor - Tied for fifth, all week he's played like a guy who wasn't supposed to be here.  He has played the 2nd and 4th rounds at +1, but that's not fatal and well below the scoring average.  He had a nice 5th round.  He should finish in the top top 5.
  8. Will Claxton - T5 but struggling on Sunday.  First four rounds very impressive, but nerves and questionable course management showed up on Sunday.  He's a true wild card on the final day.  It's probably lucky for him he doesn't have to close on the Stadium Course in the wind.  If he gets off to a steady start, he could regain the early week form and get a top 5.  If he gets off to a wobbly start he could have a hard time holding on to a postion in the top 25.  I'll take him in the 12 to 15 slot.  Even if he struggles a little; others are likely to as well.
  9. Edward Loar - T9 - A couple of 73's, but that's the worst of it.  A little more of a veteran than others on the leader board, I like him in the top 10.
  10. Charlie Beljan - T9 - shot matching 73's in the two poor weather days, so might shoot a little over par in the final round.  I like him in the 12 to 17 range.
  11. Tommy Biershenk - T9 - Score card is similar to Brendan Todd's at 70/70/68/73/69.  My only pause for concern is how long he's tried to get to this point and the pressure he will face internally.  He also ended Sunday with a double bogey (his second in the round) and had a triple in round 1.  I like him to advance in the 8 to 12 range with the disclaimer that if it starts to go south early he could get himself in mental trouble.
  12. Seung-yul Noh - T9 Only round over par was the 5th, which scares me a little.  I think he'll fight through, but I expect him to drop in the 18-22 range.
  13. Scott Parel - T13 - 71/72/71/70/67 - It's like he steadily treaded water for 4 rounds and then jumped to where he needed to be in the 5th round; but that 70 in round 4 is really like a 66 on round 1/3/5, so he's had a great last 36 holes.  He could be a guy that improves his position a little.  I like him in the 8 to 12 range.
  14. Jeff Maggert - T13 - He's been good when the conditions have allowed for low scores and he's struggled when the conditions have worsened, but he's always stayed around the course averages.  I expect him to do the same tomorrow and not drastically improve or fall back.  He'll advance in the 12 to 18 range.
  15. Daniel Summerhays - T13 -  Should advance, although he's struggled in the poor weather.  I would think he may fall back a little, but he's got a cushion.  He should end up in the 18-22 range.
  16. Matt Jones - T13 - He had a disastrous 4th round 78, but other than that he's been great.  My gut told me to take him in my Q School preview but I let my head talk me out of it.  I won't do it again.  He'll advance in the 7 to 12 range.
  17. Alexandre Rocha - T13 - He's been in a good spot after every round and the veteran will be at the end of the week too.  I like him in the 10 to 15 range.
  18. Bobby Gates - T13 - Got incredibly unlucky to drop to 126 on the Money List of the PGA Tour the last week of the year and he struggled in round 5 during pretty benign conditions.  He might be snake bit so I'm going to take him to finish 1 shot out of the top 25.
  19. Derek Fathauer - T19 - Advanced on this course rotation in 2008, but was much closer to the top of the leaderboard.  I think the nerves get to him and he drops out.
  20. Colt Knost - T19 - Steady all week and no rounds over par.  He makes it through around where he is now....18 to 22 spot.
  21. Bob Estes - T19 - 73/74 on the windy days.  Not a good combo for the veteran.  I don't think he holds on.
  22. Roberto Castro  - T19 - Has been steady, but never spectacular all week.  He will probably finish somewhere around where he is now, which makes his trip to Q School not all that successful 20-25.
  23. Will McGirt-  T19 - Hasn't shot in the 60's since the first round which sort of mirrors his PGA Tour season of good early play follow by disappointing weekends.  That doesn't bode well for tomorrow and I think he misses narrowly.
  24. T24 Hudson Swofford / Kevin Kisner advance and Shawn Stefani / Reid Edstrom / Billy Hurley III don't....no good reason why but it's all about nerves at this point.
5 Outside to watch:
  • Mark Anderson
  • Scott Dunlop
  • Greg Owen
  • Jason Allred
  • Lee Janzen
Best of luck to all!

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