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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Children's MIracle Network Hospitals Classic - Final Round Preview

I've been fairly quiet the past few weeks once the various tournaments have started, but there is too much going on ahead of the final round of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic to ignore. Here is a viewing guide, if you will, for things to keep an eye on in the final round.

I'm going to largely skip over the obvious Charlie Beljan story, because I assume you are aware of what's going on there. The only thing I will point out, is he can't afford a big slip in the final round if he expects to finish in the top 125. Entering the week 139, he needs a top 10 at worst, and probably something like a top five.

  • There are a bunch of moving parts to the top 125. As projected now, Vaughn Taylor is in 125th, but he's also tied for fifth in the tournament. Because there is a large gap between where he is projected now in 125th and where D.J. Trahan is projected in 126th, the ball is largely in Taylor's court to hold his position. A top five and Taylor is fine. A lower top 10, and he brings not only Trahan, but also Rod Pampling back into the picture. Pampling missed the cut.
  • A couple of shots either way could loom large for Camilo Villegas. He is currently tied for fifth and projected 132nd. That tells me that anything better than a tie for fifth makes him very dangerous, but if he retreats at all; it's off to the final stage of Q School.
  • As for the aforementioned Trahan, don't forget that his birdie putt from 22 feet on his 72nd hole (the 9th) last year bumped Bobby Gates to 126th and gave Trahan the final card. Projected at 126th, the Clemson product seems destined to take it down to the wire this year as well.
  • I mentioned on Twitter that Josh Teater is a man to watch in the finale. He's 10-under in his two rounds on the Magnolia Golf Course, which is where the final round will be played, versus 1-under on the Palm Course. He's also 56th in final round scoring average.
  • There are a bunch of guys fighting to get inside the top 150, or trying to maintain a spot inside that number, in order to avoid the second stage of Q School next week. Scott Brown (146 projected), Brendon Todd (148) and Billy Hurley III (149) are all projected inside the number, but have missed the cut. Chris DiMarco (151), Kyle Reifers (153), J.J. Killeen (156), Billy Horschel (147) and Russell Knox (155) are among those hoping to sneak inside the top 150. Stewart Cink is currently 150th (projected), but his status is secure due to the 2009 British Open win.
  • For many of those guys I mentioned above, finishing inside the top 150 is a huge deal. It guarentees them not only a spot in the final stage of Q School, but also some PGA TOUR starts and full status on the 2013 Web.com Tour. For the Scott Brown's of the world, that's a big deal.
Something crazy will happen tomorrow. It could involve Beljan nabbing his first win, or blowing it in Kyle Stanley-like fashion. It could be that someone further down the list shoots a 64 to steal a card from someone. There could be someone well outside the top 150 (like a Scott Dunlap) firing a really low round to come out of nowhere to end up inside the top 150.

Either way, tomorrow is much more dramatic than any episode of The Big Break ever hopes to be.

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