Scott Hend and Brett Drewitt lead the way at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship in Ohio, the pair 1-under and T25 heading to the weekend.
Rookie Curtis Luck and veteran Cameron Percy are both a shot further back and sharing 31st, the other four Australians teeing up this week all missing the cut.
Jamie Arnold, Rhein Gibson, Matt Jones and Stuart Appleby al packed their bags early after finishing outside the 2-over cut line.
At the end of the regular Web.com season last week the top 25 earners were awarded PGA Tour cards though play the next four events to determine the order of their exemption category.
Over the four tournament series a separate ‘mini money list’ will determine another 25 cards and with no Australians making it onto the first list all need to finish as high up the standings each week as possible.
Hend, Drewitt and Luck all shot even par on a difficult day for scoring at the Scarlet Course at the Ohio State University while Percy’s 1-under was one of only 36 sub-par scores returned for the day.
American Keith Mitchell leads the tournament by two at 10-under, Seth Reeves outright second at 8-under and Andrew Landry third alone at 7-under.
Hend is playing the finals series courtesy of a good finish at the WGC Bridgestone event and is hoping to return to the world’s top circuit after an absence of more than 10 years.
A Florida resident, the Queenslander played full time in the US in 2006 but failed to keep his card.
Now a full time member and two-time winner on the European Tour, the 43-year-old has made no secret of the fact he feels he can, and should, be competing with the world’s best.
Luck is perhaps the most promising player to emerge from Australia since Jason Day, the 21-year-old capping off a stellar amateur career with wins at both the US and Asia Pacific Amateur tournaments last year.
He joined the pay for play ranks after making the cut at The Masters and earned enough FedEx Cup points as a non-member of the Tour to qualify for the finals.
After a disappointing finish to his round when playing well yesterday, Luck produced the polar opposite to day after getting off to a rough start.
He was 2-over at the turn and 3-over through 11 before reeling off three birdies in his last six holes to salvage what could have been a disastrous week.
For Australia’s best performed player over the course of the regular season, Jamie Arnold, It was a disappointing week with a late bogey costing him the chance to play the weekend.
Arnold was one of only two players from these shores to qualify for the Finals Series as a top 75 finisher on the regular season money list and was on track to make the cut before missing the green at the par-3 13th and failing to get up and down.
The other qualifier, Rhein Gibson, endured a horror second round as he failed to post a single birdie on his way to a 76.