April 17, 2014, Reunion, Fla. (ISN) – Baltimore, Maryland’s Brad Miller and Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Clark Klaasen were the only two players at level par or better when third round play was suspended due to darkness at PGA TOUR Canada’s Florida Qualifying Tournament at the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at Reunion Resort on Thursday.
Third round leaderboard – Florida Qualifying Tournament (Bold denotes Canadian)
T-1. Clark Klaasen – E/-
T-1. Brad Miller – E/-
T-3. Ryan Brehm – +1/-
T-3. Dan McCarthy – +1/-
T-3. David Holmes – +1/-
Thursday’s play saw the completion of round two, which was pushed back due to Thunderstorms that halted play on Tuesday, and the start of round three in the Qualifying Tournament, which will see 18 players earn exempt status on PGA TOUR Canada for 2014, with the rest of the top 40 plus ties earning conditional status. Once again, windy conditions made the Nicklaus Course a tough test, with just four players – Miller, Dan McCarthy, Evan Beirne and Bruce Woodall, who all shot 1-under 71 – breaking par for the round.
“Anything under par on that course is pretty good regardless of the conditions, so when it’s windy like it has been, it’s really tough out there,” said Miller, a University of Richmond grad. “Even when you had a downwind hole, it was hard to hold the green, let alone get it close to the hole.”
The demanding conditions were reflected in the scores of the field, which averaged 78.07 over the first two days. Zero players have broken 70 for the week, with the cut-off number for exempt status sitting at 4-over and conditional status at 8-over through 36 holes.
Third round play is set to resume Friday at 8 A.M., with Klaasen, Miller and Ryan Brehm set to go off in the final group at 11:49 A.M.
McCarthy likens Reunion to major championship feel
By draining long range birdie putts on two of his final three holes of the day – a 16-footer on the seventh and a 20-footer on the eighth – Syracuse, New York’s Dan McCarthy gave himself one of just four sub-par rounds in round two, and said making long putts might be the only way to make birdies on the demanding Nicklaus Course at Reunion.
“It almost has a major championship-type feel. There are certain pins that you just can’t go at. You have to play to the safe side of the greens and take your opportunities when they come,” said McCarthy, who nonetheless said he was surprised that even par was leading through 36 holes.
“It’s definitely surprising. With professional golf at any level it always seems like a few guys go out and light it up,” said McCarthy. “It’s really tough to get the ball close to the holes with the wind. You have to shape it in there or squeeze it in there to get a good look at birdie.”
Miller looking to try something new in Canada
For 36-hole co-leader Brad Miller, the chance to play PGA TOUR Canada comes with obvious benefits – namely, the chance to earn Web.com Tour status for 2015 – but also the opportunity for adventure and professional development.
“Honestly, when I signed up I just thought it would be fun to try something different,” said the 23-year old of playing PGA TOUR Canada. “Now that there’s the connection with the PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour, it makes so much sense as a player, but I’d love to go to Canada and see some new places.”
Miller won’t begin his third round until 11:49 A.M. Friday, but said the on-and-off nature of playing with the delay from Tuesday’s thunderstorms has actually helped him stay focused on the task at hand.
“The fact that it’s been so off-and-on the past three days kind of helps, because I don’t know when I’m gonna be able to play,” said Miller. “You just have to kind of stay ready. You can’t look ahead because you don’t know for certain what could happen with the weather or when you’ll play. It’s just been kind of weird.”