Last Batch of Final Exams Underway
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Lots of UGA on the leaderboard

The sixth and final round of Q-school is underway at PGA West, where 25 guys (and ties) will earn their PGA Tour cards for 2012 at the completion of play. One thing’s for sure at the moment, former University of Georgia golfers are dominating the leaderboard — Brendon Todd, Brian Harman, Harris English and Kevin Kisner, who are all currently in the top ten.

48-year-old Marco Dawson, a Q-school veteran with 11 appearances, started the day with a three-shot lead, but he’s two-over through six while Todd is two-under through seven.

Earlier this year English won on the Nationwide Tour as an amateur, giving him full status in the minor leagues in 2012. Which he won’t need since his performance this week will bump him into the bigs — he’s tied for third with 12 holes to play.

Harman is also tied for third, while Kisner is tied for 10th.

Other notes and highlights:

*”Coach (Chris) Haack (the UGA men’s golf coach) has recruited a lot of good players and a lot of good players out of the state of Georgia and the southeast,” said English on Saturday. “He really shows what he can do with players and what the University of Georgia can do coming through there.  It’s awesome.  I’m glad to be a part of the University of Georgia and I think I’ve had eight or nine guys that graduated from Georgia are playing this week.”

*English and Harman are staying together this week. Does that get complicated? Said English: “We’re very competitive but we’re also old teammates and I’m pulling for him really hard.  I’m wanting him to play well and get a top 25 and hopefully we can all get there.”

*Bobby Gates’ three-putt on the 72nd hole at Disney, the final Fall Series event of the year, cost him his 2012 card. He fell $1,431 short out of the top 125. Which just sucks. (Then he got salmonella poisoning at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai. Rough couple of weeks.) Said Gates on Saturday: “It wasn’t fun, and I wasn’t happy, but I kind of took two or three days to just be mad about it and frustrated.  There’s a lot of things that go through your head as far as what I could have done differently throughout the year, but when you look back on it, it’s just one of those things in sports.

“I learned a valuable lesson that every shot matters, and that was kind of something I did well in college, and I probably needed the reinforcement here.  It’s tough to learn it that way, but in the long run I’m sure I’ll be better for it.  I’ve kind of taken the mindset I’m going to be mature and go focus and try and work harder to put myself in a position where I don’t have to worry about that again.”

Good news is Gates is in great position to re-earn his card. He’s six-under through 11, 15-under total, putting him in a five-way tie for first right now. Now that would be a nice little redemption story.

*Canadian Adam Hadwin kicked off finals decently, but he didn’t have the best weekend and dropped well outside the top 125. After shooting 75 on Sunday, a few reporters asked him to comment on his round. Hadwin gave a straight-up answer: “I played like sh*t.” Which caused some concern, but don’t expect him to turn into a robot and start reciting cliche answers (at least not yet!) — which is extremely refreshing.

He told me later: “I may come across badly sometimes, but I don’t think I’ll give any ‘Tiger’ press conferences…I just don’t see the point in hiding how you really feel. Might as well be honest. I’ll always come across as real.

“I hit it bad, only hit five fairways. I need to find something for tomorrow (Monday). My driver is all over the place. I made a couple of putts to keep it at three-over (yesterday).”

*Australian Jarrod Lyle will get his job back. After shooting 68 on Sunday, Lyle said: “18 is a tough hole.  (On Saturday) it was driver, hybrid, and I hit probably one of the best hybrids of my life (Saturday) and hit it to 12 feet…You know, it’s there for the taking.  There’s some par‑5s on the course we play tomorrow that are downwind so you can have a good look at birdie and a couple easier holes.  If I can make 18 pars tomorrow I’ll be moving up the board.”

*Reid Edstrom just missed a 10-footer for birdie on the 18th at Nicklaus Tournament on Sunday, and settled with posting a nine-under 63 to move up the leaderboard and give himself a chance today. Said Edstrom on what’s taken him to the next level this season: “Belief in myself.  I’ve always had the talent, it was just a matter of getting somebody to fill me up, like (instructor) Scott (Hamilton), to believe in myself.  When you get 36, 37 years old and you haven’t done it, you do start questioning whether this is what you want to do.  But with all the success I’ve had on the mini‑tours, it doesn’t translate necessarily to the next level, but the jump is so small.  I just think it’s a matter of believing in myself in order to do it.”


I’m headed to watch some golf. Stay tuned for much, much more.