When I took off for Missouri, I made a last minute decision that I would play in the Qualifier for the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic which takes place next week in the Quad Cities area of Illinois and Iowa. Qualifying for PGA Tour events got much more complicated last year when what is called a "a pre-qualifier" was instituted. Monday qualifying used to consist of one round of golf on the Monday of tournament week. Now, there is another preliminary round which takes place either the Thursday or Friday of the week before the event. I played in the pre-qualifying round today at a place called Pinnacle Country Club in Milan, IL.
There were 148 guys today playing for 50 spots (and ties) in the Monday qualifier next week. I got off to an interestingly bad start. For some reason my motivation level was low and I was quite lackadaisical. I hit a lot of good shots, but would lose focus easily and suffered a couple of really poor three-putts and butchered a simple up-and-down on another hole. I stood at two-over-par after twelve holes and had a little pep-talk with myself after hitting two good shots on my 13th hole. Facing a 12-footer for birdie, I reminded myself that as well as I've been playing lately, I could be just a few short days away from my first PGA Tour start. My motivation returned and I rolled in that birdie putt and went on to play nearly flawless golf the rest of the round. I birdied four of my last six holes to post a two-under-par total of 70 and advance to the Monday qualifier next week.
The round on Monday will be at the same course that I played today. The field will consist of the 5o or so guys that advanced from todays pre-qualifier in addition to about thirty other guys who have either weak PGA status or Nationwide Tour status and thusly were exempt from pre-qualifying. We will be playing for four spots, and I feel like if I stick to a good game plan and have a good day, I could definitely be one of those in the top four.
I'm going to get some good practice in while enjoying this July 4th weekend, and then will have a great day at the office on Monday! Check here for some good news early next week!