Whisman continues solid play
DAYTON – Two more rounds like he’s had so far and 2000 Galena High graduate Travis Whisman should have the chance to wipe out bad memories from last year.
Whisman shot his second straight solid round in the First Stage of PGA Qualifying at Dayton Valley Golf Club, firing a 3-under-par 69 on Wednesday. After shooting a 68 on Tuesday, Whisman has a two-round total of 7-under 137, placing him in a tie for sixth.
Brandon Hamden of Portland, Ore., followed up his 67 by tying the low score of the tournament with the low score of the day, a 66, and leads the 80-player field with a two-round total of 11-under 133.
Scott Gordon rebounded from a first round 73 to tie Hamden for low score honors as he also shot a 66 to give him a 139 total. Warren Schutte, who has played at Dayton all 12 years the qualifier has been held, fell to a 71 after being the first round leader at 66. Schutte, though, is still in good position to move on to the second stage of qualifying as he is among the players who are tied with Whisman at 137.
The top 27 players plus ties will advance to the second stage of qualifying for the right to move on to the PGA Qualifying School. At the PGA Qualifying School, players will play for a permanent spot on the PGA Tour.
After the first two rounds, the cut-off point to move on is 141. One of the players who’s struggling to move on is Spencer Levin of Elk Grove, Calif., who made a run at the U.S. Open title a couple of years ago as an amateur.
Levin stands at 145 (72-73). Another player who’s in danger of not moving on is former University of Nevada golfer Carlos Concha, who’s also at 145 (73-72).
But Concha and Levin are among the many players who are within striking distance and with one good round could place themselves in contention to advance.
Whisman is playing for the second time at Dayton. He advance past the first stage last year, but struggled in the second stage. “I just didn’t play very well,” he said. “I wasn’t playing well.”
If Whisman continues his solid play, he’ll receive another chance to move past the second stage and on to Q school. That would mean virtually a certain spot on the Nationwide Tour and a chance to play some PGA Tour events.
“It would be nice to be able to go down there,” said Whisman about Q school. Whisman also commented about all of the players’ ultimate goal.
“Obviously getting through all the way is the goal,” said Whisman about earning a permanent spot on the PGA Tour.
Whisman isn’t looking ahead, noting all that matters is to qualify and that 27th is just as good as first. “No one cares if you win or come in 27th,” he said.
After his round, Whisman continued to work on the driving range. “I’m just trying to work on making shots, making sure I can still do it,” he said.
Whisman’s round consisted of 13 pars, four birdies and one bogey – on his last hole, the par-four ninth hole, one of the course’s toughest with one of the hardest greens on a course that has featured hard greens.
“I thought I played real well,” Whisman said. “I thought I played better today than I did yersterday. I just didn’t score as well.”
For the second straight day, the conditions were nearly perfect with little wind. “The conditions were good,” Whisman said. “The greens were hard as a rock.
“It makes it difficult to get it close. Everyone’s got to deal with the same thing. It’s just managing the course.”
Whisman knows he has an advantage at Dayton where he’s played a great deal. “I know that probably benefits me,” he said.
“The key is just to keep it out of the water and try to make your birdies when you can, just to play a steady round.”