After a fourth straight round of mind-numbing PGA Tour qualifying golf you might expect a player to want a little rest. In Matt McQuillan’s case, even after six hours spent grinding over every career-changing shot, the only thing on his mind Saturday afternoon was a quick burger and then he was off to the practice facility to get after it a bit more.
The Kingston native has had but a sniff of life on the Nationwide Tour, three events played in 2005, but he knows that the opportunity of playing at that level or even higher will depend on the next two days as he completes the 108 hole PGA Tour final qualifying.
McQuillan had another up and down Saturday at the PGA Tour’s final stage of qualifying near Orlando, Florida. Various blemishes on his scorecard that tallied 72 were diluted by a string of close shots that he kicked in for five birdies on the day.
That leaves McQuillan at five under par and holding a share of 40th place – still just three shots back from a top 25 position that would earn him a PGA Tour card on Monday, and well within the top 75 or so players that will secure full Nationwide Tour status for 2011.
Looking tired but focussed after his round today McQuillan commented on the toughness of the golf couse and his need to do one major thing over the next few days – make some longer putts.
“All the birdies I am making are five feet and under; I have to start sinking some longer ones if I want to compete with these guys,” he told Flagstick immediately after conclusion of play.
With that in mind, even with a chill in the air and the sun setting in Central Florida, a determined McQuillan headed off to the practice green.
McQuillan will tee off at 8:10 Sunday morning on the Panther Lake Course at Orange County National. He is paired with PGA Tour winner Will MacKenzie and Nationwide Tour winner Jim Herman. His tournament will conclude back on the Crooked Cat Course at OCN on Monday.
Chris Baryla of Vernon, B.C. is currently the low Canadian at Q-School. His 71 today, marked by spans of great ball striking but what appeared to be distance control issues with his putter, puts him solidly in a tie for 14th place.