Date: November 30, 2006

Aussies well placed at Q-School

Sportal A handful of Australians are well-placed after the first day of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament in La Quinta, California. Victorian Steve Allan is the best of the local hopes sitting in a tie for fourth after the first of six rounds. Allan is tied with three Americans after shooting a first-round 69. His compatriot Paul Gow sits close behind tied for eighth after carding a two-under 70 and the only other Australian guaranteed a US PGA Tour card at the moment is Steven Bowditch who is tied for 13th. Allan, the winner of the 2002 Australian Open, had a consistent day, hitting two birdies on the front nine and two on the back nine and only bogeyed once for the day. American Scott Gutschewski leads the pack outright after a superb round of five-under 67. Gutschewski birdied six of the first 12 holes to help himself to the lead. His fellow Americans Jeff Gallagher and Ryan Howison trail by one shot. The top 30 golfers in the tournament will automatically qualify for the 2007 US PGA Tour while the next 50 will qualify for the Nationwide Tour. New South Welshman Matthew Jones is just outside the top 30. He had a mixed round, hitting two birdies and four bogeys and finished one-over 71 to tie for 44th place. Four Australians are in danger of missing out at this stage but with five rounds still to go, there is plenty of opportunity to make up lost time. Brad Hughes, in his 10th attempt at qualification, is sitting tied for 100th. He has qualified twice previously – in 1996 and in 1997. Both Richard Swift and Jason Day are tied for 114th having both struggled on the first day hitting rounds of 77. Nick Flanagan finished even further back in a tie for 156th place at nine-over, 14 shots off the pace. First Round of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, par 72 -5: Scott Gutschewski -4: Jeff Gallagher, Ryan Howison -3: John Mallinger, Bob Heintz, Andrew Johnson, Steve Allan (Australian) -2: Craig Lile, Paul Gow (Australian), Matthew Boyd, Chris Thompson, Kenneth Staton -1: Dennis Paulson, Matt Hansen, Andrew Pratt, Edward Loar, Steve Schneiter, Jess Daley, Steven Bowditch (Australia), David Morland IV, Chris Tidland, Rich Barcelo, Matt Hendrix