Parts courtesy Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
The second stage of Web.com Tour Qualifying School is an important step in most players’ careers and few are fortunate enough to avoid it. Q-school’s second stage concludes this week at four sites, including the Jack Nicklaus-designed Bear Creek Golf Club in Murrieta, Calif., where 79 PGA TOUR hopefuls will tee off this week.
The second stage is an all-or-nothing affair for most of the participants. Players who advance to the third and final stage are guaranteed at least conditional status on the Web.com Tour, which is the only pathway to the PGA TOUR. Most who miss out at the second stage will start 2014 without status on that circuit.
The second stage features a mix of young up-and-comers and former PGA TOUR winners. Teeing off Tuesday-Friday at Bear Creek are former PGA TOUR winners Billy Mayfair and Peter Lonard.
The Q-School fields also are full of players just starting their pro careers.
Three 2013 first-team All-Americans are taking part in second stage this week including James Erkenbeck and Michael Kim, both competing at Bear Creek this week.
Kim, a junior at the University of California, won the 2013 Jack Nicklaus Award as the Division I Player of the Year. He is competing in the second stage as an amateur. He earned an exemption into the second stage by finishing 17th at this year’s U.S. Open. Kim was also a member of this year’s victorious U.S. Walker Cup squad.
Kim is not the only collegian competing at Bear Creek. University of Southern California junior Anthony Paolucci is also competing at Bear Creek. He finished 29th in the 2011 Farmers Insurance Open while still in high school. Chris Williams, who turned pro earlier this year as the world’s No. 1 amateur, also is playing at Bear Creek.
Since its opening in 1982, Bear Creek Golf Club has hosted a number of high-profile tournaments and professional events, including the nationally televised 1985 Skins Game. The 1985 Skins Game brought a flurry of attention to the club as Jack Nicklaus, Fuzzy Zoeller, Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer introduced the course to the public.
The tournament-caliber Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course at Bear Creek Golf Club boasts a par-72, 7,024-yard layout, centrally located between Los Angeles and San Diego. The property’s natural rolling hills, four streams and two lakes present combine the unique personality of the Temecula and Murrieta valleys. When designing the course, Nicklaus utilized Southern California’s natural terrain and very minimal grading was required. Special attention was given to the 200-year-old oak trees that dot the course, and in some areas, a whole line of play was redesigned to save one tree.
“We are honored to have Q-School staged at Bear Creek,” said Bear Creek Golf Club General Manager Max Anderson. “Having just concluded second stage for the Champions Tour, we now have the privilege to host the inaugural second stage for the Web.com Tour. The Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course at Bear Creek continues to be a great test now, 30 years after it opened.”
Fashioned after the classic golf courses of Scotland, the beautiful and challenging layout has welcomed dignitaries including former U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford since it opened for play in 1983.