DAYTON - After 54 holes of the PGA Tour Qualifying tournament at Dayton Valley Golf Club, the only certainty is that three players are tied for the top spot on the leaderboard.
The battle is on in the final round to determine the low 19 scores and ties that will move on in the qualifying process.
Nathan Tyler (Tucson, Ariz.), Nick Delio (Valencia, Calif.) and Gregor Main (Danville, Calif.) each shot 6-under rounds of 66 to tie for the top spot after 54-holes at 10-under 206. All three were in a similar position after 54-holes last year and each moved on in qualifying.
Second round leader Oliver Fisher of England and Southern Californian Sean Shahi are tied for fourth just one shot back at 9-under. Fisher shot 71 and Shahi carded a 4-under 68.
Four players who all shot 5-under 67 in the third round are tied for sixth at 7-under 209. Chris Kamin (Phoenix, Ariz.) in his 12th Dayton Q-school, Clayton Rask (Elk River, Minn.) the local Dayton members adopted favorite, Golf Channel "Big Break Disney" star Tony Finau (Lehi, Utah) and Rhein Gibson (Edmond, Okla.) an Aussie turned Okie who holds the pending world record low round of 16-under -par 55, comprise an very interesting quartet in the last seemingly safe spot.
Barring a disastrous final round, those nine players at the top should have paved their way to the next stage of qualifying.
Today's final round will be a dogfight for the final 10 spots and ties. Thirty-eight players are between even par and 6-under and in contention to advance to the next stage.
Several players made huge strides to get themselves into contention in the third round that is traditionally known as moving day in 72-hole tournaments.
The most dramatic was Cody Slover (Visalia, Calif.) who made a hole-in-one on the difficult par-3 16th hole that helped him to a second consecutive 4-under 68 and move up 15 places on the leaderboard. Slover used a 5-iron from 221 yards to record the 11th ace of his career.
"That sure helped me get through my round because I got off to a slow start and was only 1-under to there on the day," said Slover who is playing for the fourth time in the Dayton qualifier. "I figured I needed to birdie the last three holes to get where I needed to be, so it was nice that put me ahead of plan."
Tyler Aldridge (Nampa, Idaho) tied for low round of the day with a 6-under 66 to make the biggest move up the leaderboard. He moved from 3-over to 3-under and up 33 places from a tie for 54th to a tie for 21st, just one shot below the current cut line.
Fallon's Scott Smith is in the group right on the current cut line. Smith, a former Nevada Wolf Pack golfer, shot a 1-under 71 to be at 4-under 212.
"I missed four putts under 4 feet to turn a really solid round into a mediocre one," Smith said. "I'm hitting the ball really well and I just need to make a few more putts and the birdies will take care of themselves and that's the difference in this kind of tournament."
NOTES: Other former Wolf Pack players include Darren Fletcher who shot even par 72 and is tied for 39th at even par 216; Kevin Lucas is tied for 62nd at 5-over 221 after a 77 and Jared Becher shot 73 and is tied for 66th at 7-over 223. Former UNLV and Galena High golfer Travis Whisman shot a 76 and is last in the field at 16-over 232...If the tournament ended today, the cut line for qualifying would be at 4-under par, with 20 players theoretically advancing. The projected final cut is thought to be between 6 and 8-under largely depending upon today's weather conditions. The first three rounds have been played with in mixed wind conditions that have confused even experienced players at Dayton at times... A total of 38 players are under par after 54 holes.The field has played to an average score of 72.01 right at even par for 54-holes.