DANIELS, W.Va. - Just to remind you how brutal open qualifying for PGA Tour events is, consider how the top West Virginia-based golfers fared Monday at Glade Springs.Alan Cooke, a budding junior amateur out of Vienna, shot a 1-under-par 70. Not even close.Pros David Bradshaw and Christian Brand fired 69s. Not even close. Darcy Donaldson, assistant golf coach at Concord, shot a pretty 68. Again, not enough.Not when a 65 landed you in a three-for-two playoff for the last of four spots. Not when a 64 and a 62 earned the first two.
Of the 84 entrants, 26 shot sub-70 rounds and left with long faces. With rain softening the pristine Cobb Course, super-low was the way to go."The course isn't that tough today, but 65 is great playing," Brand said.The four players who joined the Greenbrier Classic field:Daniel Obremski, Irwin, Pa. - The 26-year-old Coastal Carolina graduate shot a 62, the round of his life. He made the turn at 3 under and stomped on the gas, going 5 under on Nos. 10 through 13.
"That's kind of the position you want to be in the last three or four holes," he said. "You want there to be no doubt."This is Obremski's first full year as a professional, taking on mini-tours and open qualifiers.Ryan Zylstra, Glen Allen, Va. - The 33-year-old native Canadian has a place to stay for the Classic with his mother-in-law - who footed his entry fee - in Greenbrier County. Sorry, but after his 64 he'll be staying in the big white house on the resort grounds.
He will have his first acquaintance with top-level golf this year, as he has only caddied in the Web.com Tour. He even stepped away from the game for six years, pursuing his dream with the blessing of his wife of a year and a half, Sarah.Ryan Blaum, Coral Gables, Fla. - He shot a 65, then got up and down from the greenside rough for a par, winning the playoff hole.
This season, the 29-year-old is playing the PGA's Latinoamerica tour, where he just won the Dominican Open. He also has status on the Canadian Tour."It's a lot of fun, it's a lot different," Blaum said of the Latin America experience. "You stay in different hotels. I grew up in Miami, so I speak a little Spanish. I have my wife travel with me pretty much 100 percent of the time. Safety is not an issue down there; the tour does a great job with it."
Brad Adamonis, Cumberland, R.I. - He needed an eagle on the 17th to make his 65, and perhaps that pleased the golf gods. He had a good approach on the playoff hole (the 10th was used) and a tap-in for par.
Having turned 40 in January, Adamonis played the PGA Tour full-time in 2008 and 2009. This season, he missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open by one stroke.The odd man out in the playoff: Jamie Lovemark, who missed a 5-footer for a three-putt bogey.nn
The Monday qualifier set the field, but beforehand there were three sponsor's exemptions handed out. Those went to veterans Woody Austin, Chris DiMarco and Lee Janzen.All three have won on the Tour, with Janzen's eight topping the other two. The 48-year-old owns two U.S. Open titles, in 1993 and 1998, the latter his last win. He has made two cuts in eight events.
The 45-year-old DiMarco won his three events in 2000, 2001 and 2002. He was as notable for going 4-0-1 in the 2005 President's Cup following his seventh-place finish on the money list.Austin, 49, has played full-time on the Web.com Tour for the past two years. That "Triple-A" circuit has the week off, freeing him up for a return bout with the big sluggers.His last of three wins came in 2007, at the St. Jude Championship in Memphis, Tenn. He has earned $15.6 million on the PGA Tour.Red-hot rookie Jordan Spieth had a sponsor's exemption but didn't need it after his top-10 finish last week in the AT&T National in Bethesda, Md. Heath Slocum and Russell Knox are the first two alternates.nn
The Greenbrier Classic serves as a British Open qualifier of sorts, with up to five berths to be clinched this weekend. Among the top 20 of the FedExCup standings, the top five without an exemption will gain one on Sunday.Entering the week, four are meeting that criteria - Billy Horschel, Boo Weekley, Russell Henley and Charles Howell III. Horschel and Weekley appear to be safe.Ken Duke has a foot in the door at 21st, with Graham DeLaet (23rd), Jimmy Walker (24th), Scott Stallings (27th) and Ryan Palmer (30th) close.But the Classic winner, earning 500 points, could seize an Open bid. All players down to 80th place have a mathematical chance.nn
And finally, the consensus on how the Old White played in Monday's practice rounds: soft with receptive greens that were deceptively fast.One caddie marveled at the green at the par-3 third, which is very long from front to back with the "Valley of Sin" dip in the middle. "That's a five- or six-club hole," he said.Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5140, email@example.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.FedExCup standings
Rank Pv Player Events Pts1 1 #Woods, Tiger 9 2,3802 2 Kuchar, Matt 15 1,9643 3 Snedeker, Brandt 14 1,6034 4 *Mickelson, Phil 13 1,518 5 5 *Horschel, Billy 17 1,422 6 6 Rose, Justin 10 1,358 7 26 *Haas, Bill 16 1,255 8 7 Streelman, Kevin 17 1,234 9 8 *Weekley, Boo 17 1,154 10 9 Day, Jason 14 1,148 11 10 Bradley, Keegan 17 1,044 12 12 Scott, Adam 9 1,012 13 11 Mahan, Hunter 18 1,00314 13 *Simpson, Webb 16 994 15 14 *Points, D.A. 19 985 16 16 *Henley, Russell 17 96817 17 English, Harris 19 958 18 15 *Howell III, Charles 18 940 19 18 Stricker, Steve 7 918 20 19 Johnson, Dustin 14 887 21 20 *Duke, Ken 20 861 22 21 McDowell, Graeme 9 838 23 29 *DeLaet, Graham 18 818 24 22 *Walker, Jimmy 17 81225 23 Bae, Sang-Moon 19 770 26 27 Laird, Martin 16 766 27 24 *Stallings, Scott 19 756 28 25 Kirk, Chris 16 756 29 28 Merrick, John 17 745 30 33 *Palmer, Ryan 17 736 31 30 Thompson, Michael 16 733 32 34 Stroud, Chris 19 732 33 31 *Gay, Brian 16 729 34 32 Schwartzel, Charl 11 72635 35 Fowler, Rickie 16 72336 39 Cabrera, Angel 15 71937 36 Hoffman, Charley 17 712 38 38 *Lingmerth, David 17 682 39 37 *Watson, Bubba 13 670 40 45 Rollins, John 18 668 41 94 *Castro, Roberto 20 667 42 51 *Chappell, Kevin 17 662 43 40 Lynn, David 15 652 44 41 *Teater, Josh 17 651 45 42 McIlroy, Rory 10 650 46 43 *de Jonge, Brendon 21 640 47 44 Jacobson, Freddie 15 636 48 46 Clark, Tim 15 634 49 47 *Piercy, Scott 16 632 50 48 Donald, Luke 9 632* In Greenbrier Classic Field# Clinched berth in British Open, July 18-21Note: Top 5 not-yet-exempt players in overall top 20 after Greenbrier Classic win spot in British Open.