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Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Pressures of Q-School

While the main news from this week's Q-Schools has been about the players in contention, I've been more interested in the players who aren't playing as well as expected. Some of their scores are quite shocking. And after three rounds, the PGA has only three more to go, the LPGA only two. Things are getting tight.

For example, Morgan Hoffman dropped from T5 to T44 when he shot 74 on Friday. Even worse, Daniel Chopra dropped all the way from T5 to T66 with a third-round 76. Nick O'Hern and Rod Pampling are all the way back at T75 -- not shooting over-par rounds, but just not getting anything going. With the current leader at -18, the best of these players is 10 shots back!

And they only have 3 days to make up ground. Hoffman is barely hanging on to a Tour card right now at -8. (Yes, 10 strokes back.) For what it's worth, Hoffman's chances might be pretty good. In past years, averaging -3 each round has generally been good enough to lock up a card.

A lot of familiar names are even farther back in the pack. I was shocked to find Patrick Reed, the guy who Monday-qualified for a number of events this year, all the way back at -3 (T98). And ET winner Alex Noren is even par (T132). I never would have expected that.

At the LPGA's Q-School, the big shocker for me is Mel Reid. Mel is T95, an unbelievable +10 while the leader's at -13. With only two rounds left in their qualifier, I don't see how she can possibly make that up.

All of these players are at least "good" players, and some are outstanding... yet, to paraphrase Shakespeare, Q-School makes cowards of us all. Of course, Hamlet was musing about the fear of death, not golf...

But when you're talking about Q-School, perhaps that's an appropriate analogy.

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