On one hand, players are happy to have advanced past the first stage of Q-School. But to tee it up and do it again, against a field that includes many PGA Tour regulars, can be stunning. Jon Rusk has been their before. He's been to the second stage of Q-School five times, advancing to the National Finals twice. This time it's in Panama City, Florida, at the Homre's Bad and Ugly Course. He will need a great round and some luck to advance to the Q-School finals.
Three rounds into the four round affair Rusk is in 50th position. Only the top-20 and ties advance.
The Washington Crossing native opened the Second Stage with a 2-over-par 73 to sit well outside the top-20 cutline in 46th place. A second round 76 pushed him well down the standings, but a 1-under-par third round vaulted him into the top-50.
Still, only a strong round of 67 or better, and some less than stellar play by his competitors, will get him above the 20-players and ties cutline for the national finals.
In round one, Rusk bogeyed three of his first four holes before righting the ship. He finished the front nine in three-over-par 38 but was one-under-par at 35 on the back to get a little confidence going.
In the Hombre field is 2003 PGA Champion Shaun Micheel, dropped to Q-School after his five-year exemption for winning that event ran out and a 180th place finish on the 2009 money list. Micheel opened at 69.
Also in the field are former tour headliners Pat Bates and Peter Lonard, as well as 75 others searching a berth in the national finals.