For a brief moment, Oliver Goss could see his PGA Tour dreams becoming a reality.
At one stage in his second round, the Royal Fremantle product held a potentially lifechanging share of the Portland Open lead before falling back to a tie for 12th by the end of the day.
Goss needs a victory in the Web.Com Tour season finale to earn PGA Tour status ahead of the finals series, but even without a win his chances rise with every dollar he makes this week.
After opening with a 3-under 32 on the back nine, Goss went eagle-birdie on the 4th and 5th to go 6-under for the day and top the leaderboard at 9-under.
But golf’s trademark reality check came swiftly and brutally. On the following hole Goss hit a wayward approach into the 6th green that led to a penalty drop and a double bogey.
Goss would par the remaining three holes to sign for a 4-under 67.
The ups and downs of golf are always hard to handle, but there should be comfort for Goss with his roller-coaster ride happening at the upper end of the leaderboard.
After missing six straight cuts Goss can only be delighted to be playing this weekend. Any earnings from this week will make the Golf Australia rookie a lock finish in the top 75, qualifying him for finals and guaranteeing full status on America’s secondary tour in 2016.
From here Goss can clear his mind and focus primarily on earning a place on the primary tour.
Sitting five shots back from Canadian leader Adam Svensson, Goss is still a chance to push for a victory.
But Goss’ best chance lie in the upcoming four-week finals series that has an additional 25 PGA Tour cards on offer.
Thirteen cards are given to the best golfers by combining regular season and finals series earnings, while the remaining twelve are given to those ranked best in finals series earnings alone.
It’s a complex system but the demands on Goss are clear. The more money he earns in Portland, the better his chances.
One golfer who wont have to worry about his finals performance is Rod Pampling.
Pampling is a shot ahead of Goss on 8-under in a tie for 7th, but the Queenslander is already guaranteed to return to where he has played his best golf with PGA Tour victories in 2004 and 2006.
Ranked 18th , Pampling is Australia’s lone member inside the top 25 and playing without pressure as he chases his second win on the Web.Com Tour this season.
Four off the pace, Pampling will be riding a wave of confidence after shooting the day's best round. His 6-under 65 included five birdies and an eagle on the par-5 seventh.
Unfortunately, the Portland Open leaderboard makes some sorry viewing for the remaining twelve Australians, with nine missing the cut and three through on the number.
Alistair Presnell, Brett Drewitt and Bryden Macpherson will all play this weekend after scraping through at the 2-under par.
By making the cut Drewitt has cemented his place in the top 100 to secure conditional status on the 2016 Web.Com Tour.
His next two rounds will still shape his 2016 season with every dollar improving his status and guaranteeing more starts. A full card is still possibly if Drewitt has a miracle weekend and the Sydney based golfer breaks into the top 10.
But for Macpherson and Presnell it might be too little too late. Both are likely to return to Q-School although a finish in the top 10 could earn the Victorians enough money to secure some form of conditional status.
From the nine that missed the cut only Steve Allan (29th in earnings), Rhein Gibson (31st) and Mathew Goggin (32nd) will continue their season into the finals, although the trio let slip a great opportunity to secure a PGA Tour card during the regular season.
Fortunately their high ranking will come in handy with season earnings still counting for 13 of the 25 additional cards on offer .
The remainder will need to face Q-School to have a shot at playing the Web.Com Tour in 2016 after failing in their push for the top 75, although Bronson La’Cassie will likely have some form of conditional status thanks to his current ranking of 85.