Saturday, November 20, 2010

Michael Thompson Completes Amazing Comeback, Advances to Final Stage of Q School

In a tournament where finishing in the top 19 is the goal, 58th is not where you want to be. That's where Michael Thompson sat after the first of four rounds while playing at the Second Stage of Q School.

Making it in the top 19 meant you had a chance to move to the Final Stage of Q School, where you get a shot to play on the PGA Tour. It also meant you had an immediate invitation to play on the Nationwide Tour, where the top 50% or so make about the same or better than the top player on the Hooters Tour.

With so much on the line, all I could think about was the many times Michael had been under pressure before. From the finals of the US Amateur (playing live on CBS), to trying to make the cut at the Masters, to making the cut at the US struggling on the Hooters Tour, where finishing in the top 20 meant you'd at least break even. It all came down to three rounds left, with 39 other guys he had to pass by.

Round 2 came and went. He shot even par, which was not half bad considering how tough the Southern Hills Plantation Club had been playing. But after all that, he only passed 4 other guys to be T-54.

4 down, 34 to go
Round 3 was a bit of bloodbath. Lots of good players ended going over par. Some dropped substantially, and weren't able to recover. Michael? He shot 4 under, tying the second best score of the day, moving up an amazing 30 places on the leaderboard to T24. The dream was alive.

My brother Roz and I chatted over dinner last night. "Two under" my brother said. "Three or Four" I was thinking. Either way, another rally was needed if Michael wanted to advance.

So the scores come rolling in this morning, with Michael posting another 4 under par performance. He had done it. He moved up from 24th to T-11. He made the cut for the Final Stage of Q School by two strokes, passing 47 other guys in doing so. Amazing!

So what's next? The Final Stage of Q School is being held Dec 1-6 at the Orange County National Golf Center, located just north of Disneyworld in Orlando, FL.  It will be televised on the Golf Channel too.  It's been a while since I've seen Michael play on TV.  I'm not sure of the specifics, but I believe it's the same format, where the top 20 or so will earn their PGA card for 2011.  The others that don't make it will play on the Nationwide Tour, which ain't so bad either.  Most of the Nationwide Tour events are televised by the Golf Channel.

So congratulations to Michael Thompson!  I'm one super-proud cousin right now.  My co-workers are going to be sick of me with all my golf-talk, but they'll just have to get over it.

Viva la Rally Monkey!


1 comment:

  1. Roz pointed out to me that if he had shot 2 under (as he had predicted Michael needed), he would have finished at -5, T19. He wins the "Guess what score is needed to qualify" game.