DAYTON - You would never know by his demeanor that this was Gregor Main's first try at the PGA Tour qualifying process.
The 22-year old Danville, Calif. resident and former UCLA all-American golfer shot a 3-under 69 for a 12-under par 204 total and a share of the lead after three rounds of the Stage One PGA Tour Qualifying tournament at Dayton Valley Golf Club. He is tied with Canada's Ryan Yip who shot a 5-under 67 which tied as the low round of the day.
Main had his first taste of the Q-school grind last month in a PGA Tour Pre-qualifying tournament at the The Golf Club of Dallas in Dallas. He shot 4-under for a sixth- place tie in the 72-hole event to get into the Dayton tournament.
Main had never played any of the first stage courses so it didn't matter to him which site he went to after making it through pre-qualifying. His coach had played Dayton a half a dozen times and thought it would be a good fit for Main's game.
"I guess coach was right about this suiting my game," Main chuckled. "I really like the course and the greens are perfect - all you have to do is get the ball on line and the putts will fall."
A bit of home cooking and family are also helping ease the rigors of the Q-school grind as Main is staying with his grandfather Lew Main who lives in Genoa.
"I started him playing when he was 2 years old," said grandpa Main who lives on the fifth hole at Genoa Lakes Golf Cub. "I've followed him throughout his career from Florida to Scotland and all over as he has grown up."
A two-time cancer survivor, Lew Main walks all 18-holes of each round to follow his grandson.
Yip, the medalist in the Dayton Q-school last year carded six birdies and one bogey on his round.
"I liked it here and that's why I came back," Yip said. "And my strategy is the same as last year - just make birdies."
Richard T. Lee, a Canadian who now resides in Chandler, Ariz., fired a 4-under 68 to be in solo third at 11-under 205. Second round co-leader Derek Tolan, Highlands Ranch, Colo., is in solo fourth after a one-under 71.
Veteran Wil Collins, playing in his ninth Q-school at Dayton, carded a 3-under 69 and is tied for fifth with Nathan Tyler of Tucson, Ariz. who had a 4-under 68. Both are at 9-under 207.
"This was the calmest day I've ever had at Dayton Valley," said Collins who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. "But I can't say it was the easiest because the greens are so firm and fast. "
Collins, who made it through Dayton and the Q-school finals to play on the PGA Tour in 2009, said he has one formula that has kept him going through the grind of tour golf.
"I try not to think about a number and just hit the next shot as well as I can," he said.
Matt Marshall, who was born in Reno, fought a battle with food poisoning overnight and managed a 2-over 74 to stay in the hunt with a 5-under total of 211 that is the current cutline number.
"Three hours before my tee time I didn't think I was going to make it," said Marshall who lives in Marana, Ariz. "As bad as I felt 74 was a good score."
Former Carson High golfer and 2011 Nevada State Amateur champion J.T. Cockerill shot an even-par 72 in the third round. He is tied for 44th place and six shots below the current cut number.
"It was a struggle. I played the par 5's three over," Cockerill said. "I played well but whenever I really needed to make a good decision out there I made a bad one."
Cockerill had three consecutive birdies on holes 5,6 and 7 on his back nine that helped him get back to even.
"I got on a little roll at the end and I need to do that a lot tomorrow (today) if I'm going to make it," he said.
NOTES: The low 22 scores and ties after the final round will advance to Second Stage PGA Tour Qualifying. Players advancing to the second stage will play to make the PGA Qualifying School Final where they will vie for a spot on the PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour. The Final Qualifying Stage will be contested over 108-holes on Nov. 30 - Dec. 5 at PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course and TPC Stadium Course in La Quinta, Calif. ... The field has played to an average score of 71.95 for 54-holes which is one shot higher than last year... For complete results and individual player scorecards visit the web link: http://pgatq.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/pgatq11/event/pgatq1110/contest/1/leaderboard.htm