THUNDER BAY – SPORTS – Evansville, Indiana’s David Mills carded a 4-under 68 on Wednesday at La Purisima Golf Course to take the 36-hole lead at PGA TOUR Canada’s California Qualifying Tournament.
The recent Indiana University graduate went without a bogey on Wednesday, becoming the first player to record a round without a bogey at this week, and built a one stroke advantage over Richmond Hill, Ontario’s Taylor Pendrith, Danville, California’s Jeff Hamm and Los Osos, California’s Matt Hansen.
“I’ve putted pretty good and hit my irons really well,” said Mills. “I didn’t really make too many mistakes and kept it in the fairway in front of me, and I got a few putts to drop.”
Mills credited a patient approach to the course for his solid play, but isn’t getting ahead of himself with two more rounds to go and only six shots separating him from the rest of the top-18 players on the leaderboard.
“You just have to take what the golf course gives you. You really have to try and play like a normal round and make sure you are patient, because the birdies will come if you wait on them,” said Mills.
Hamm, a PGA TOUR Canada member in 2013, posted the best round of the day with a 5-under 67, while Pendrith and Hansen matched each other a pair of 2-under 70s in each of their first two rounds. Pendrith, a member of Golf Canada’s Young Pro Team, is looking to become the second member of the squad to win at Q-School after teammate Albin Choi captured medalist honours at last week’s Florida Qualifying Tournament.
“I talked to him after he won and told him congratulations. It’s pretty incredible,” said Pendrith of Choi’s 25-under total last week. “He’s been playing some really good golf. I’m out here doing my own things, trying to play some smart golf and hope to have a chance to join him on TOUR this year.”
NUMBERS YOU NEED TO KNOW
0: The number of players in the top-10 who played in the afternoon wave on Wednesday.
6: Shots separating leader David Mills and the rest of the top 18 players through 36 holes.
306.9: Taylor Pendrith’s average driving distance on all drives at last year’s RBC Canadian Open, tops in the field.
The medalist this week will earn exempt status on PGA TOUR Canada for 2015. Finishers 2-18 will be exempt through the first six events and subject to the re-shuffle, with the rest of the top 40 (plus ties) earning conditional status. The cutoff for the top 18 through the first round was at 1-over, with the cutoff for the top 40 at 5-over.
Antibes, France’s Julien Brun, who will complete his collegiate career with the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs immediately following Q-School: “It’s right after this. I’m not even going back to campus. I’m going to meet up with my teammates and fly right to our conference championships. It’s a big stretch, but I’m very excited to move forward. I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to play here. The postseason for college golf is very exciting and we have a good team, so it’s something I’m really looking forward to.”
“I’ve played three tournaments out here before – every one I could find. It’s one of those courses that the more you play, the more comfortable you feel and the easier it is, because it is a visually intimidating course.” – Jeff Hamm on becoming familiar with the tricky La Purisima layout by playing several mini-tour events on the course in the weeks leading up to Q-School. Hamm carded the best round of the day with a 5-under 67.
– Weather: 17 degrees Celsius. Cloudy. Winds 20 km/h.
– Samuel Saunders, who sat T5 through two rounds, is the brother of Web.com Tour player and PGA TOUR Canada alumnus Steve Saunders.
– First round leader Matt Pinizzotto fell to a 7-over 79 on Wednesday, placing him T25 through two rounds.
– Round three tee times will begin at 7:00 a.m. on Thursday
Article by Brian Decker