Anderson regains lead in qualifier at Dayton

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Justin Snelling reacts after missing a putt on the 18th green at Dayton Valley Country Club on Thursday.

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Justin Snelling reacts after missing a putt on the 18th green at Dayton Valley Country Club on Thursday.

DAYTON - Not that he doesn't enjoy coming to Dayton Valley Golf Club, but Jeremy Anderson believes this is the last time he'll ever have to make a trip to the local course. Then again that's what he thought after his first trip to Dayton in 2000.

Brian Benedictson of British Columbia on the other hand is making his first trip to Dayton. Anderson is well on his way to advancing to the second stage of PGA qualifying, but for Benedictson, he's one of many players who are on the bubble entering today's final round.

Anderson, the first round leader after shooting a 64, moved back into a tie for first after shooting a 5-under-par 67 in Thursday's third round of the first stage of PGA qualifying. Anderson has a three-round total of 203 and is tied with Josh Williams, who shot a 66 on Thursday to also place him at 203.

Ben Portie had the low score of the day, shooting a 65 to move into a third place tie at 204 with Parker McLachlin and Lindsay Bernakevich, who fired a 66 on Thursday. The top 19 players plus ties move onto the second stage of PGA qualifying for the right to advance to the PGA Qualifying School, where they would play for a spot on the PGA Tour.

It looks like the low score of 8-under-par needed to advance to the second stage that was posted in 2004 will fall. The cutoff point for finishing in the top 19 after the third round was a 7-under 209.

There are many players on the bubble and a few that may have not expected to be there. They include Chris Kamin of Phoenix, who played on the Nationwide Tour this year, as he's at 209 after shooting a 71.

Matthew Zions of Denver. Colo., who was among the leaders after the first two rounds, also fell back to 209 after shooting a 73. There's also Walker Cup hero and Indiana graduate Jeff Overton, whose clutch play helped the United States beat Great Britain and Ireland in this year's amateur event. Overton is at 210.

Another player at 210 is former Galena High and UNLV standout Travis Whisman. Justin Snelling fired a 66 on Thursday to place himself in contetion, putting him at 210. Two former University of Nevada players are also in position to move on as Carlos Concha and Brett Bingham are both at 208. Former Carson High and St. Mary's standout John Chirila shot a 76, putting him at 226.

There should be plenty of scoreboard watching today, but Benedictson won't be one of thos watching the scoreboard.

"I haven't looked at the scoreboard all week and I'm not going to until it's all over," said Benedictson, who is at 209.

Benedictson, 26, worked in construction for six years and graduated from Chico State in May. He went to Chico State for its construction management program and was on a golf scholarship.

"I think it's a great challenge and very fair," said Benedictson about the course. "It's in great condition. I can't say enough good things about it. I've played well."

Benedictson is also just focused on today. "I'm just trying not to get too far ahead of myself," he said. "I appreciate that I get a chance to play golf."

When Anderson first came to Dayton in 2000, he had just graduated from UNLV where he was a two-time first team All-American. He went on to qualify for the 2001 PGA Tour, finishing 11th at Q School.

But he couldn't hold onto his PGA Tour card, with his troubles beginning at the Reno-Tahoe Open in 2001. He was playing well, but had to withdraw with a neck injury.

He played on the Nationwide Tour in 2002, but continued to be plagued by bulging discs in his neck. He missed all of 2003, but came back in 2004 to nearly qualify for the PGA Tour.

Anderson ended up back on the Nationwide Tour, nearly finishing in the top 70, which would have allowed him to skip the first stage of qualifying and advance straight to the second stage.

"I almost got myself to where I didn't have to come to this stage," Anderson said. "This is the fifth time, unfortunately."

But if Anderson has to go through the first stage, Dayton is the place where he wants to play. "It makes it an easier choice to come here because it's a play I enjoy," he said.

"I've played very, very solid. Actually tee to green, this is about as good as I've played all year.

"It's all about playing stress-free golf, staying away from making mistakes and I've been able to do that this week."

When asked if this would be his last trip to Dayton, Anderson said, "That's the plan. Of course I said that last year. Actually I think I said that in 2000."


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