DAYTON — Jake Knapp of Costa Mesa, Calif. fired a 5-under par 67 in blustery conditions to take the 36-hole lead in Stage One Web.com Tour Qualifying at Dayton Valley Golf Club on Wednesday.
Luke McClellan of Bluffton, S.C. shot a second consecutive 5-under 67 for a 10-under, 134 total that puts him in a tie for second with first round co-leader Eric Onesi of Bear, Del., who shot a 3-under 69. Amateur Tyler Collier from Chico, Calif., also carded a 67 and is in solo fourth at 8-under 136.
Five players are tied for fifth place at 7-under 137 including Michael McCabe, Moorpark, Calif., with a 4-under 68 on the round. Jake Sarnoff, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Eddie Olson, Aptos, Calif., and Australian Cameron Davis all shot 70 and Lorens Chan of Honolulu had the low round of the day with a 6-under 66.
Former Nevada golfer Kevin Lucas of Folsom, Calif., shot an even par 72 and 1-under 143 total that puts him in an 8-way tie for 24th place and one shot below the current qualifying number of 2-under.
“When I started out with the way the wind was blowing, I thought even par would be a good score,” Lucas said. “I’ve put myself in a good position (to qualify) and if I can shoot a couple of rounds in the 60s that’s where I want to be.”
Starting on the 10th hole, frontrunner Knapp got sideways early when he hit his tee shot out-of-bounds on No. 11 and made a double bogey. But he settled down mid-round and then finished in a flurry with three consecutive birdies on Nos. 7, 8 and 9 to get in at 5-under.
“It was playing difficult today with the fast greens and the wind making them firmer,” said the former UCLA star making his third consecutive Q-school start at Dayton. “I hit a lot of good shots today and I figured out that I want to play the downwind holes more aggressively and more conservatively to take what the course gives you going into the wind.”
McCabe was in the first group off No. 10 and described the wind conditions in perfect professional golfer lingo.
“On No. 10 there was no wind, on No. 11 it started blowing maybe minus 5 yards, on No. 12 it was a minus 15-yard wind and plus 25-yards downwind and it stayed that way the rest of the round,” explained the 34-year old in terms of plus or minus yardage he uses to select a club for each shot.
“These greens are really good and I got the speed down really well early,” said the 11-year pro who made the cut at the 2015 Barracuda Championship and was this year’s leading money-winner on the Golden State Tour. “Going off first as a twosome we were in no hurry and I was able to be fully-committed to every shot, hit a lot of greens and only had one bogey.”
Onesi is playing in his second Dayton Q-school after missing the qualifying number by two strokes in 2015. He said he travels almost halfway across the country from Delaware to play Dayton because he likes the layout, the people and feels comfortable in the area.
A 2010 graduate of Old Dominion, he made it to the Final Stage of Q-school in his first two attempts and had conditional status on the Web.com Tour.
“Today was challenging and to tell the truth I was playing for pars,” said the 28-year old echoing the sentiments of many in the field about the wind that was steady at 5 to 7 mph with gusts up to 25 mph. “Anything under par today was a good score.”
Local Jordan Wright from Incline Village, playing in his first Web.com Tour Qualifying tournament, had a rough day with a 10-over 82 and 36-hole total of 8-over 152.
“It was not a good day to play poorly with this wind,” said Wright who has a tough road in the next two rounds to try to make-up at least 12 strokes to advance.
If the tournament ended today the qualifying score would be 2-under with 23 players advancing to the Second Stage. Seventeen players are within three strokes of the cutline number.
Thirty-one of the 70 players in the field are under par after 36-holes and another four are at even par 144. The field had an overall second round scoring average of 73.13 and the 36-hole average moved up nearly one stroke to 72.41.
The 22 low scores and ties after Friday’s final round of the 72-hole tournament will advance to Second Stage Web.com Tour Qualifying at five sites in November. Players advancing to the second stage will play to make the Web.com Qualifying School Final where they will vie for a spot on the 2017 Web.com Tour.
For results and individual player scorecards visit the web link: https://pgatq.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/pgatq17/event/pgatq179/contest/1/leaderboard.htm