PGA Tour veteran Billy Mayfair and 2009 U.S. Amateur runner-up Ben Martin will enter Monday’s final round of the six-day, 108-hole PGA Tour Q-School finals tied at 16 under after recording rounds of 67 and 71, respectively, on the Panther Lake course at Orange County National on Sunday.
Bio Kim (68/Panther Lake) sits in solo-third at 15 under and one back, while Will Strickler (68/Panther Lake), William McGirt (69/Panther Lake) and Zack Miller (71/Panther Lake) are all three behind.
The top 25 players and ties will receive PGA Tour cards for 2011. The next nearest-number-to-50 will earn fully exempt Nationwide Tour cards for the first 10 events on the schedule and the remainder of the field will receive conditional Nationwide Tour status. After 10 Nationwide Tour events next year, the fully exempt members will be subjected to the re-order/conditional category.
Mayfair and Martin are attempting to become the seventh consecutive player to carry the lead/co-lead into the final round of Q-School and go on to win. In the past nine years, only one player (Danny Ellis) who held the lead after five rounds failed to take medalist honors, losing by two to Mathias Gronberg in 2003.
Martin completed his degree at Clemson in December of 2009 but did post-graduate work in order to compete for the Tigers last spring. He is a three-time Atlantic Coast Conference selection. He is joined in the field by five additional former Tigers: Kyle Stanley (tied for 22nd), Charles Warren (tied for 36th), Tommy Biershenk (tied for 36th), Eliot Gealy (tied for 61st) and Brent Delahoussaye (tied for 107th).
Mayfair, a five-time Tour winner, turned pro in 1988 and made it through Q-School on his first try that fall. He has not been back since then. He finished No. 142 on the 2010 PGA Tour money list, with a tie for third at the Turning Stone Resort Championship his best finish. Mayfair is the only player in the field with five rounds in the 60s this week (69-69-68-68-67).
Four players who earned their PGA Tour card for 2011 by graduating (top 25) from the Nationwide Tour are seeking to improve their position this week at Q-School Finals: Jim Herman (No. 19), Joe Affrunti (No. 22), Michael Putnam (No. 24) and Justin Hicks (No. 25). These players will not count toward the top 25 and ties who will earn their Tour card through Q-School, nor will they count against the next number nearest 50 to determine fully-exempt Nationwide Tour membership. Here is how they stand heading into the final round: Putnam (tied for ninth), Affrunti (tied for 22nd), Hicks (tied for 22nd) and Herman (tied for 61st).
Matt McQuillan leads the field with 28 birdies this week. He stands tied for 16th at 10 under after a fifth-round 66 on Sunday at Panther Lake.
Steven Alker (No. 6) and Travis Bertoni (No. 8) both had aces on Crooked Cat on Sunday. They carded scores of 72 and 67, respectively. For Alker, his hole-in-one came immediately following a triple bogey on the par-4 fifth hole.
Two-time neart transplant Erik Compton is tied for 82nd after a Sunday 68 at Crooked Cat, while Brett Waldman, best known as the caddie for Camilo Villegas, slipped into a tie for 107th after a 75 at Panther Lake.
The best rounds of the day came from Elliot Gealy, Travis Hampshire and Jake Younan-Wise, who all had 65s at Crooked Cat, and Ryan Armour, Camilo Benedetti and Matt McQuillan, who had 65s at Panther Lake.