LEWISVILLE, Texas — Bangor native Jesse Speirs is confident about his chances and eager to play when the PGA Tour qualifying school first-stage tournament as The Lakes at Castle Hills gets under way Tuesday morning.
“I’m always excited to play, this even more so,” said Speirs, who now resides in Memphis. “I’ve been waiting for this all year.”
Speirs, winner of the 2011 Greater Bangor Open, will start on the 10th tee at 9:55 a.m. with Michael Connell of Austin, Texas, and Nicolas Geyger of Santiago, Chile. The three will play together again Wednesday at 8:55 a.m. on the first tee. The 76 players will be repaired for the third day based on their two-day totals, then again for Friday’s final round based on their three-day totals.
The top scorers from each of the 13 first-stage events, approximately 18-25 depending on the number of players at each event, advance to one of the six second-stage events the week of Nov. 11-17. The top 18-25 from each second-stage tourney move to the final stage Nov. 28-Dec. 3 at the PGA West courses in La Quinta, Calif. The top 25 and ties at the final stage qualify for the 2013 PGA Tour, and the next set of qualifiers closest in number to 50 get onto the Web.com (formerly Nationwide) Tour.
This will be the last year that golfers can advance directly to the PGA Tour through qualifying. In 2013, top qualifiers will earn spots on the Web.com Tour and then have to play their way onto the PGA Tour.
People will be able to follow Speirs’ results online at http://pgatq.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/pgatq12/event/pgatq1217/index.htm#.
The Lakes at Castle Hills plays to 7,256 yards with a par of 72.
“It’s a pretty fair course,” said Speirs, who has played a few practice rounds over the past few days, including official practice rounds Sunday and Monday.
There are three par 4s that measure from 472-480 yards long, two par 3s that are 228 and 242 yards, and the four par 5s go from 540 yards up to 601 yards. The toughest stretch is holes 6-12, including five of the course’s six most difficult holes.
“The greens are pretty firm,” he said, adding that it’s important not to miss them. “It’s rough chipping around some of these greens.”
The course sits in the middle of a large residential development with little to block the state’s other major golf obstacle, the wind.
“The course is pretty flat. There’s not a lot of undulation [to block the wind],” said Speirs, who said the wind blew steady during the practice rounds. “The wind is pretty consistent, which is good.”
Speirs feels his practice over the past month is paying off.
“I’ve certainly seen some parts of my game really turn around,” he said. “My putting is averaging just under 30 a round, and my ball-striking is good.
“I’m ready to get it started.”
Speirs also heard good news Thursday when it was announced that the PGA Tour had purchased the Canadian Professional Golf Tour, which Speirs played on this year and qualified for again next year.
The top five money-winners from the 2013 PGA Tour Canada, based on its Order of Merit, will qualify for the Web.com Tour. The next five automatically gain entry into the final stage of Web.com Tour qualifying.
It’s nice to have a backup plan, said Speirs, but he’d rather get there now.
“Everything is where it needs to be,” he said of his game. “I just have to go out and get it done.”