Following yet another trans-pacific long haul flight, the week following the Zhuzhou classic saw me in Lakeland Florida for the First stage of Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying.
A simple breakdown of the qualifying series is that there are 3 stages, each stage is 4 rounds and roughly the top 25 at each stage advance to the next stage. Once in the Final stage, the top 50 scores will receive tour cards for the Korn Ferry Tour for the following year. Now that the Korn Ferry Tour is the best path to the PGA Tour, it is ideal to bring the best form possible to these qualifying events, not to mention the hefty entry fee that makes most people gawk. Such is the beauty of professional golf and one of the reasons it brings all of us such a rush.
I was fortunate enough to have my girlfriend on the bag caddying for me during the week, which was a pleasant distraction from what is otherwise a pressure loaded week. The course I was allocated for my first stage was Grasslands Country Club in Lakeland, FL. The course itself is a pleasurable place to play with firm, fast greens and a course that is very scoreable provided you place the ball appropriately.
For me, this week would be very vanilla and an inability to convert my opportunities seemed to carry on my year-long theme. Shooting rounds of 74, 73, 66 and 72 would see me finish tied 50th and well outside the -11 cut required to advance to the next stage.
Q-School can be a very anti-climactic event, with many players seeing their whole year rely on their performance for those 1 or 2 weeks. It is an event that really highlights how important it is for players to plan their performance to peak at that time of year. For me, it will be another year missing out and a focus on how to get my year finished out on a high.
My next event starts next week, back on the other side of the world for the Macau Championship back on the PGA Tour China.