Saturday, September 26, 2009

Frann Quinn, heading back to US PGA Tour,

leads Nationwide event at Midland, Texas

MIDLAND, Texas -- Fran Quinn might not surf at home but the 44-year-old New England native is certainly riding a wave of good play that just might land him back on the US PGA Tour next year. Quinn ended a nine-year winless drought a week ago in Idaho and has put himself in position to possibly win again, this time in Texas.
Quinn added a 5-under 67 Friday to his opening 64 at Midland Country Club, good for a 13-under 131 total and sole possession of the 36-hole lead at the WNB Golf Classic, the 25th of 29 stops on the 2009 US Nationwide Tour schedule.
Quinn leads by one from 2008 Nationwide Tour grad Arjun Atwal (64) and is two ahead of Garrett Willis (69) and Jason Schultz (64). Seven players are knotted at 10 under and three back, including 2005 winner Kris Cox, who was 0-for-12 in cuts made this year before returning to the scene of his only Tour title.
"It's fun," said Quinn, who moved up to No. 18 on the money list with his winner's cheque. "This is what we play for. You just keep trying to play as well as you can and keep a smile on your face."
Quinn's has been all smiles since capturing the Albertsons Boise Open with a clutch birdie putt on the final hole of regulation last Sunday, his first victory since the 2000 Florida Classic.
"I started out and the birdies just kept coming," he said of his second round. "I just kept hitting it close. I hit a lot of quality shots."
He's had a lot of those lately. That wasn't always the case. Quinn made the cut in only six of his first 17 starts this year and found himself No. 98 on the money list thanks to a scoring average of 71.35. Then, in Wichita, things turned for the better.
"If you go back to my last 25 rounds or so, this is probably the best scoring stretch of golf, my most consistent he said. "I've had a lot of good play. Some of it wasn't rewarded but now I'm getting rewarded for it."
The numbers back him up. Starting in early August, Quinn has made the cut in six of his last seven starts, including this one. He sports a scoring average of 68.87 for those events and has earned about 83 percent of his current money total of $179,291. Another good week, or another win here and he'll be a lock to finish in the 25 top money winners who will graduate to the US PGA Tour when the season ends.
Quinn hit more fairways Friday than Thursday (10 vs. 8) but fewer greens in regulation (14 vs. 17).
"I played really well yesterday and I have a lot of confidence going right now," said the leader. "I'm putting excellent. These greens are perfect."
Atwal made the day's biggest move with an 8-under 64 that featured ten birdies, six of which came from over 15 feet, including one from about 40 feet.
"The putter started to behave itself," he said after needing only 25 putts on the day. "I started making a lot of putts and the ones I didn't make were right on line. These greens are rolling absolutely perfect. I figured I needed to get into double digits (under par) if I was going to get into contention."
Not that anyone figured he would. Atwal has been battling a torn rotator cuff for the 2009 season and is just now feeling good about a swing that helped him win last year's Chattanooga Classic and finish No. 17 on the Nationwide Tour money list.
Atwal played four events on the west coast before an MRI revealed a 50 percent tear in his right shoulder. He spent the next five months on the shelf, anxious to return.
"I've never had so much time off and I was getting kind of edgy at home and my wife was wondering when I was going to start back," he said. "I went back to Milwaukee and I was just miserable. I had lost a lot of my length and wasn't hitting my clubs the same yardage. It was not a good combination."
Atwal played six times and missed all six cuts, admitting he'd returned too soon. The net result to this point -- three cuts in 10 starts and a spot at No. 210 on the FedExCup points list.
Since his last start at the Wyndham Championship, he's been rehabbing his shoulder and has turned to a new swing coach who is helping him take pressure off his ailing right shoulder.
"I missed the cut last week in Boise (where Quinn won) but I wasn't doing it right," said Atwal. "I got on the phone with my coach and we sorted it out. There's a lot less pressure on my shoulder now."
And the results have Atwal paired with Quinn for Saturday's third round.
I didn't expect this at all," said Atwal, who is using this week to prep for next week's Tour stop at the Turning Stone Resort Championship. "Seriously, I haven't made a cut since Pebble Beach, not that I've played that much but it was basically to get some confidence going."
He will need to look no further than his playing partner on Saturday for pointers.
Veteran Joe Durant returned to the Nationwide Tour for the first time since 1996, when he was a member of the Tour graduating class. Durant was looking to get his game in shape as the Fall Series approaches. Unfortunately, the four-time PGA Tour winner posted rounds of 71-70 and missed the cut by one stroke. Durant birdied four of his first five holes Friday and was at 5-under but quickly gave five shots back to par in his next six holes. He closed with birdies at Nos. 14, 15 and 18, but it wasn't enough to make the weekend.
"I needed to play in a golf tournament and saw where my game was," he said. "It's kind of where it is on the regular Tour. I just can't seem to get over the hump. I've got to keep working." Durant won back in 1996 at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic and noted that the Nationwide Tour has come a long way since he last teed it up.
"We've always known that these guys play great out here and you can tell by the scoring. The guys that come off this Tour and move onto the PGA Tour and win majors, they don't just hang around," he said.
"I think the guys that come off this Tour know what they've got to do on the regular Tour to play well. The things that they have to do out here to get them to the regulaor Tour will carry you on the regular Tour now. There was always that question of whether the two correlated. It's obviously proven that it does. It's just gotten so much better out here now."
Second-round notes: The temperature when play began Friday was 49 degrees. The afternoon high reached 84 degrees ... A total of 73 players made the 36-hole cut, which came at 4-under 140. The 4-under cut is the lowest since the tournament moved to Midland CC in 2002. The lowest cut in the tournament's 18-year history was 6 under at The Club at Mission Dorado in 2001 ... Jason Schultz birdied seven holes during a nine-hole stretch starting at No. 13 today. Schultz went from 3-under to 10-under en route to an 8-under 64 ... Billy Mayfair, a veteran of 643 career starts on the US PGA Tour, is making his Nationwide Tour debut this week. Mayfair will be around for the weekend.
Scots note: Former Walker Cup player Steven Young from Inverallochy, who is on the pro staff at Midland Country Club, Texas, missed the cut with rounds of 72 and 74 for 146.

Midland Country Club, Midland, Texas
Par 144 (2x72)
131 Fran Quinn 64 67
132 Arjun Atwal 68 64
133 Jason Schultz 69 64, Garrett Willis 64 69
134 Kris Cox 67 67, Rhein Gibson 64 70, Fabian Gomez 66 68, David Hearn 66 68, Paul Stankowski 66 68, Brendan Steele 66 68, Jerod Turner 67 67
135 Oskar Bergman 69 66, Guy Boros 67 68, David Morland IV 70 65, Darron Stiles 69 66, Brian Stuard 69 66, Esteban Toledo 68 67
136 Adam Bland 67 69, Matthew Borchert 70 66, Marco Dawson 66 70, Tom Gillis 68 68, J.J. Killeen 70 66, Bob May 66 70, Garth Mulroy 70 66, Brenden Pappas 72 64, Cameron Percy 69 67
137 Steven Bowditch, Chad Collins 69 68, Robert Damron 68 69, Will Dodson 70 67, Scott Gardiner 70 67
138 Keoke Cotner 69 69, Brad Fritsch 73 65, Bret Guetz 70 68, Hunter Haas 70 68, Skip Kendall 69 69, Billy Mayfair 68 70, Jin Park 69 69
139 Ryan Armour 69 70, Jeff Burns 69 70, Gary Christian 72 67, Bubba Dickerson 68 71, Justin Hicks 68 71, Derek Lamely 69 70, Won Joon Lee 68 71, Craig Lile 68 71, Scott Parel 70 69, Michael Putnam 72 67, Dustin Risdon 70 69, Daniel Summerhays 70 69, Chris Tidland 68 71, Willie Wood 69 70
140 Tyler Aldridge 69 71, Mark Brooks 71 69, Jason Caron 70 70, Ryan Cobb 68 72, Joe Daley 70 70, Jason Enloe 71 69, Tommy Gainey 69 71, John Kimbell 68 72, J.L. Lewis 69 71, Len Mattiace 70 70, Connie Pierce 70 70, Martin Piller 69 71, Alex Prugh 68 72, Adam Rubinson 69 71, Dave Schultz 68 72, Patrick Sheehan 69 71, Geoffrey Sisk 70 70, Bob Sowards 75 65, Omar Uresti 69 71, Ron Whittaker 72 68
141 Alex Aragon 72 69, Craig Barlow 71 70, Craig Bowden 71 70, Paul Claxton 70 71, Bryan DeCorso 67 74, Todd Demsey 71 70, Andrew Dresser 70 71, Joe Durant 71 70, Vince Jewell 70 71, Mike Lavery 69 72, Jesse Mueller 72 69, Ryan Nelson 71 70, Michael Sims 69 72, Sal Spallone 71 70, Kyle Thompson 72 69, Tjaart Van der Walt 70 71 , Dustin White 68 73
142 Miguel Carballo 70 72, Tom Carter 70 72, Jim Carter 75 67, Jim Herman 71 71, Craig Kanada 70 72, Alistair Presnell 69 73, Tom Scherrer 74 68
143 Blake Adams 68 75, Stuart Deane 71 72, Scott Dunlap 71 72, Chad Ginn 74 69, Troy Kelly 72 71, Doug LaBelle II 72 71, Lucas Lee 73 70, Brian Vranesh 70 73, Brennan Webb 73 70
144 Bobby Clampett 72 72, Matt Every 73 71, Kevin Johnson 71 73, Jim McGovern 71 73, Chris Nallen 69 75, Garrett Osborn 72 72, John Riegger 73 71, Steve Wheatcroft 73 71
145 Larry Bryan 71 74, Casie Cathrea 71 74, Martin Flores 72 73, Ryan Hietala 75 70, Ian Leggatt 72 73, Randy Lowry 70 75, Phil Tataurangi 68 77
146 Jeffrey Barton 75 71, Andrew Buckle 73 73, Michael Clark II 71 75, Bradley Iles 74 72, David McKenzie 74 72, David D. Schultz 72 74, Grant Waite 73 73, Steven Young 72 74
147 Steve Alker 75 72, Rich Barcelo 74 73, Dustin Bray 71 76, Brent Delahoussaye 72 75, Seung Han 73 74, Matt Hansen 77 70, Andrew Johnson 73 74, Chris Kirk 73 74, Drew Laning 74 73
148 John Adams 75 73, Ben Bates 72 76, Tom Byrum 74 74, Joey Lamielle 76 72, Vance Veazey 70 78
149 Brian Dwyer 72 77, Jeff Gove 77 72, Joseph Sykora 73 76
150 Paul Gow 75 75
151 Josh Broadaway 72 79, Trevor Dodds 77 74, Leroux Ferreira 74 77
Withdrew: Mathias Gronberg 72, Tom Johnson 73, B.J. Staten 73, Andrew Magee 76, Bob Burns 81



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