“My parents still ask me when I’m going to get a job and be like normal folks."

Sean Martin notes the huge scoring average increase Thursday at Q-School where winds created some wild standings swings and one WD.

As eager as I know most are to read about David Duval's appearance in the finals (as profiled by Brian Wacker), I'm partial to Jim Achenbach's look at old guy Paul Claxton, a native of Claxton, Georgia, married to fruit cake company heiress Paula, father of children Paul and Paula, son to parents Paul and Paula. But no brothers named Larry, Darryl or Darryl.

Reflected Paul the golfer, who is witty enough to double as a comedian:

“We’re pretty simple. You only need to know a couple of names, and you can talk to all of us.”

Things can be a little different in the South. “Everybody thought we were related before we got married, but of course we weren’t,” said Claxton, pondering a confusion of names.

Playing on the 2011 Nationwide Tour, Claxton made 17 cuts in 26 tournaments. He won $140,544 to rank 40th on the final money list.

Back in 2008, he played on the PGA Tour but missed 15 cuts in 23 events. He lost his card and has been fighting ever since to get it back.

“My parents still ask me when I’m going to get a job and be like normal folks,” he said.

Noh Joy: Q-School Finals Are Here

John Maginnes will be at Q-School for Golf Channel and sums up the final stage starting Wednesday at PGA West:

I honestly get a little queasy now just thinking about it and I haven't been to a Q-School in half a dozen years. I will be there this year on course for the Golf Channel and I feel like I will be returning to the scene of the crime that stole a piece of my soul and my youth. In return, I learned more about myself in a week than I have in any single year since.

Sean Martin previews the name players in the field and as always, I feel slightly dirty poring over the names of the souls who will be grinding it out over the next six days. Oh, but go ahead and look, it's not like they are standing in front of Home Depot looking for work. Yet.

Brian Wacker also looks at some of the better known names at Q-school.

Steve DiMeglio takes the William McGirt angle, talking to the heartbreak veteran who for three consecutive years at the second stage  faced final hole putts to make it to the finals. You'll have to read the story to see how it turned out.

The PGA Tour's leaderboard is here, and their full coverage page can be accessed here.

“It sounds like old guys trying to cover their butts. Is this an old boys’ club or who the best players are?"

Jeff Rude calls the PGA Tour's proposed concept to convert Q-School into a Nationwide Tour qualifying event "too much of a closed shop, too restrictive, too protective of current members making the rules, too much of a half-dream for Q-School entrants and too little of the concept of keeping immediate hope alive."
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2010 Q-School Wrap-Up

The scores are here but as far as stories go, Billy Mayfair may have been medalist but Joseph Bramlett was the favorite of on-site scribblers.

Mick Elliott (here), Steve Elling (here) and Adam Schupak (here) each had a distinctive take on Bramlett, the first man of African American descent to earn a card through Q-school in 25 yards. From Schupak's story, referencing the last black man to make it to the tour via the school, Adrian Stills:

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Wild Sunday Open Thread

Geoff Ogilvy has already won the Australian Open but we can't see it here in the states because of a full line-up that includes a meaningful finale at the Chevron World Challenge for Tiger, the Nedbank in South Africa, the LPGA Tour Championship and the second-to-last round of PGA Tour Q-school. Let me know what you see.

2010 Q-School Primer

I always feel a little dirty peering in on Q-school scores. But now that it's no longer a largely private affair with Golf Channel starting coverage Saturday during round four, there's some stellar online coverage to correspond with a slew of fascinating storylines this week. You can spot several of them on the leaderboard, either in the form of big name former tour players or intriguing names such as Erik Compton, Ty Tryon and Brett Waldman.
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28 Advance To PGA Tour And Begin Praying For At Least Three West Coast Starts

Sean Martin offers a quick summary of the Q-school graduates broken down into various categories and shares this about media darling Brian Vranesh:

Vranesh was working as a waiter until this time last year. He spent this year on the Gateway Tour, and had only previously made the Q-School finals once since turning pro in 2000; he earned partial Nationwide Tour status after finishing back in the pack. He’s never played in a PGA Tour event.

Vranesh’s cousin, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher Jon Garland, was on hand to see Vranesh earn his Tour card.

“I guess I’m like Joe the Plumber,” said Vranesh, 31. “I want people to see that if you work hard you can make it out here.”

John Strege fleshes out Vranesh's decidedly un-Joe The Plumber story (for instance, Vranesh sounds like he'd do anything to not go on welfare like Big Joe!) and also shares some of the other highs and lows from day six.

Helen Ross also focused on Vranesh's story in her PGATour.com story.

Rex Hoggard talks to the brutally honest Gary Woodland and Jay Williamson, a Deere Classic playoff loser earlier this year who retained his card.

Despite a career year that included a playoff loss to Kenny Perry at the John Deere Classic, his first trip to the British Open and a start in the BMW Championship which was played in his home town of St. Louis, Williamson finished 137th in earnings.

"It's not so much a mental thing. It's an emotional thing," said the endearing veteran who was slowed late in the season by a back injury and missed his last six cuts. "I know too much. I need to get dumb for a little bit because the last two days were brutal."

Like Stuard, Bryce Molder dropped out of the top 25 on Monday, but Molder had already secured his status on Tour with his top-25 finish on the 2009 Nationwide Tour money list.

Jason Sobel breaks down and ranks the 28 who earned cards, offering all sorts of little info nuggets.

Mark Williams files notes for PGATour.com, including the players who went through all three stages, and even digs up the list of who started at the pre-qualifier and made it all the way to the finals (none earned cards, but nonetheless one mighty impressive accomplishment).

And if reading isn't your thing but hot blondes are, PGATour.com offers up some young lady named "McMurry" (Ty, could we get a graphic with her name and Facebook profile information) who will take you through the highlights in under 3 minutes.

"I’ll do my yoga in the morning and get out here and see if I can keep it going.”

To track the final day of PGA Tour Q-School online, you can watch scores here. To prepare us for the finale, Sean Martin leads with Notah Begay's 63 Sunday to jump 74(!) spots.

Begay’s bogey-free round Saturday moved him up 74 spots on the leaderboard and into a tie for 21st at 15-under 345. The top 25 and ties after Monday’s final round will earn PGA Tour cards.

“I hit it great the last two days,” Begay said. “(In the fourth round), I had 11 looks inside 15 feet and only made one. I didn’t know if it was going to happen today or tomorrow or next year, but I knew I was going to have a good round at some point.”

Begay will have to tackle PGA West’s tougher Stadium Course in Q-School’s final round while most of the contenders play the Nicklaus Tournament Course.

“I won’t change anything,” Begay said. “I’ll still make dinner for my brother tonight and we’ll still do our same routine. I’ll do my yoga in the morning and get out here and see if I can keep it going.”

Martin's piece also offers easy to read capsules on various players and lists all scores through four rounds.

John Strege profiles another great story, former Ryder Cupper Chris Riley who enters the last day in a tie for 16th. 

“I had to force some small talk"

Ron Sirak says that "Pretty much all Michelle Wie is going to have to do Sunday at LPGA Q school is make sure she signs her scorecard," which is why all attention is focused on the epic 59 in La Quinta by Harrison Frazar. The Golf Channel studio gang takes you through the round.

Sean Martin, filing for Golfweek.com:

Frazar’s group had to wait a couple minutes before teeing off on No. 18. Frazar spent part of that time standing alone at the edge of that tee box, talking at times about college football with playing partners Robert Garrigus and James Nitties.

“I had to force some small talk,” Frazar said. “Robert and James were great to play with. They were laid aback. I tried to make some small chatter with folks wherever I could, try to keep my mind off of it.”

Jim Achenbach files an anatomy of a 59 and is pretty much in awe of everything except the cleaning up of the PGA West courses.

PGA West is in the midst of a total renovation. The two golf courses used for this event – the Nicklaus Tournament Course and the infamous Stadium Course by Pete Dye – have been cleaned up, spruced up, prettied up and manicured as carefully as a girl heading to her first high school prom.

Peter Yoon reminds us that this is not the first 59 Q-school, nor does such an incredible round ensure a PGA Tour card.

When Gossett shot 59, it came in the fourth round of Q-school. But Gossett failed to break 70 in any other round that year and did not receive his PGA Tour card. Frazar now has a four-shot lead with two rounds to go and he's 10 shots clear of the top 25 who will earn playing privileges for the 2009 PGA Tour season on Monday. Still, he's not taking anything for granted.

"This isn't the last day and this isn't over," Frazar said. "We've got two days left. On these courses, as you can see, you can get at it, but you can also get bit pretty hard."

John Strege profiles Notah Begay, who is just happy that he'll be playing on an organized tour, even if he doesn't make a comebackt his week.