In about two weeks, Scott Smith will take on the second stage to earn his professional card on the Web.com Tour.
The Fallon native qualified for the second leg after he finished 1-over par 289 for 22nd place at the Web.com Tour qualifier in Dayton two weeks ago.
Smith was inside the qualifying number last year, but a final round of 3-over par pushed him outside of advancing to the second stage.
This year, despite gusty conditions and firm greens, Smith rallied from a subpar first round to catapult himself into the next round of qualifying.
“I would call it playing steady,” Smith said. “I wasn’t playing particularly well, but I was missing the ball in the right spots.”
Second stage locations are in Kingwood and McKinney, Texas from Nov. 12-15,
Plantation and Brooksville, Fla., Murrieta, Calif., and Gautier, Miss., from Nov. 19-22.
The final stage is in La Quinta, Calif., from Dec. 12-17.
“This was my third attempt at Q-school … I just wanted to stay patient,” Smith said. “You don’t need to make a lot of birdies.”
His opening round did not go as planned with a 3-over 75 and was tied for 25th. Despite the off round, Smith remained in contention of making the cut.
He fired a 3-under 69 with four birdies and bogey in the second round. Smith came back with par on day three and capped the tournament with a 1-over 73 on the final round to qualify.
“There were such tough conditions,” Smith said. “I was 3-over (on the first day), but I was still right there. I played pretty steady the last couple rounds and was able to get through.”
As for the final nine holes, though, Smith said his focus was not on a specific number, but rather to play consistent down the stretch. He said he knew what the projected cutline would be, but still had to manage his nerves.
“I knew that, teeing off, 2-over would be getting through,” Smith said. “I didn’t think about that. If I tried to go out and shoot 74, I’d probably shoot 75. I just tried to play steady golf. Coming down the last nine holes, you definitely feel pressure for sure.”
The PGA Tour re-organized its system of how golfers can earn their professional card. Q-School consisted of two stages and a six-round final to determine PGA Tour cards.
Last year, though, the PGA Tour revamped its system and created a three-stage tournament to determine who will receive cards for the Web.com Tour, the entity below the PGA Tour.
To earn a PGA Tour card, the top 75 players from the Web.com Tour money list and the Nos. 126-200 on the PGA Tour will play three tournaments. The top 50 will earn a PGA Tour card for the following season.