Heading to final stage of qualifying

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Last week, I played in the second stage of Web.com qualifying school in Gautier, Miss.

This was the first time I had been to this site. It replaced The Hombre in Panama City, where I had played the previous four years. This year is my sixth year playing Q School, and it does get a little easier every year just because you do get a little more confident.

But honestly, Q School is a total grind. It brings out emotions that you didn’t think were possible and nerves that hadn’t been exposed in a good while.

So ... my week. I had been preparing very well and was really looking forward to the week to begin. I traveled over to Mississippi on Nov. 16 and was able to see a few holes on the back nine. On

Nov. 17, I went out and played all 18 and really liked the golf course. It was in good shape and a good change from The Hombre, which hadn’t been all that kind to me in the past.

That night, a huge storm came through and dumped about three inches of rain on the course. Too much water in too short of time for the course to handle, and it was really wet for the practice round and played quite a bit different due to the conditions.

I played nine holes and called it a day as even the tee boxes where unplayable. It was going to be interesting to see how the course looked the following day.

The first day, I teed off at 9:20 a.m. and had a good day on the course. I hit the ball great and really managed my game well. I made six birdies and two bogeys (68) in the first round, and the bogeys were just tough breaks that I had no control over. Very pleased how the day went and was sitting tied for third after Round 1. At the end of the week, the top 19 and ties would advance to the final stage.

The second day didn’t go as well as the first, as I shot 1-over 73 and moved back down the field and outside the all-

important top 19. I really didn’t play all that bad in the second round. I just didn’t hit it as close as the first round and didn’t make any putts to speak of. I was a little disappointed in how the day went but knew that I was playing well and had two days left to make some good things happen.

In the third round, I was able to bounce back from a slow second day by shooting 3-under 69 and move back to 6 under for my three-round total. It was a solid round of golf and a great way to lead into the

final round.

Fourth round, so here is my situation. I go to bed sitting on the cut line to the final stage of Q School. Making it to the final stage doesn’t guarantee you anything other than conditional status on the Web.com Tour, but even conditional status is way better than where I have been the past couple of years with no status at all.

The day started off less than stellar, making the turn at 2 over, and 4 under for the tournament. I needed to make a run to get through to the second stage. I had a little self talk on the ninth tee box and was determined to shoot 4 under on the final 10 holes, which would be good enough to move on.

Long story short, I was able to make five birdies on the back nine to shoot 31 for a 69 on the day. Good enough to move on, and it felt great.

I will be headed back to the final stage of Q School again for the second time in the six years that I have been playing golf professionally. It is going to be a great week, another tough week, but I will be ready to go and play some great golf.

The top 45 will get their Web.com card for the following year and have a chance to play their way onto the PGA Tour in 2015.

Lots of hard work ahead, but I am going to get this done.

Chris Baker is a professional golfer from Brownstown. This is from a blog entry on his website, chrisbakergolf.com.

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