Dunlap back in Q-School finals

Remember Scott Dunlap?
He’s the former Sarasotan who gave Tiger Woods a run for his money in the 2000 PGA Championship.

 Well, there is no quit in this guy, who graduated from Sarasota High School and was an All-American at the University of Florida.  Since that disappointing final round of the PGA Championship where he shot a 75 to finish tied for ninth, Dunlap has been on and off the PGA and Nationwide Tours.

Now, he is back in the spotlight. Dunlap is the only golfer with area ties to compete in this week’s PGA Tour Qualifying School’s final stage at PGA West.  It began Wednesday and the next five days will determine his fate for next year.

This could be one of the great comeback stories if Dunlap manages to secure his PGA Tour card for the 2012 season. After all, he’s been a pro for 26 years and is 48-years-old, one year away from being eligible to qualify for the Champions Tour.

It is not impossible. Billy Mayfair was 44 last year when he was the medalist at Q-School.

Plus, Dunlap set a personal and course record with an 11-under-par 60 in the second round of the Midwest Classic on the Nationwide Tour this past summer. His third-round 73 dropped him back and he tied for 25th.  He won $36,138 this year and finished 113th on the Tour.

In 2000, Dunlap had a breakthrough year on the PGA Tour. He recorded personal bests in season earnings/rankings ($1,040,244/44th), top-10 finishes (five), top-25 finishes (12) and cuts made (23).  His best showing of the year came at The Players Championship, where rounds of 73-70-71-70 produced a tie for third.

Later that summer, Dunlap fired a 6-under-par 66 at the PGA Championship and shared the first-round lead with Tiger Woods and paved the way for his best showing in a major. He trailed Woods by one stroke after both the second and third rounds, before a final-day 75 resulted in a tie for ninth.

Ironically, Bob May, who finished second to Woods in the 2000 PGA Championship, also is in this week’s field. Other notables are David Duval, Rich Beem and Sam Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer.

Dunlap now lives in Duluth, Ga., but his parents, Bill and Bunny Dunlap, reside in Sarasota and are members at Misty Creek CC. Scott’s sister, Page Halpin, once played on the LPGA Tour, and was Vanderbilt’s women’s coach before getting married and moving back to Sarasota. She has regained her amateur status and is a member at The Oaks.

Q-School notes

... Dunlap fired a 2-under par in the first round and is tied for 61st.

… Seven pre-qualifiers, along with 13 first- and six second-stage regionals were held to reduce the field. A total of 173 players advanced to the final qualifying stage, which will consist of six rounds with no cut. The top 25 players and ties will receive PGA Tour cards for 2012. The next nearest-number-to-50 will earn fully exempt Nationwide Tour cards for the first 10 events in 2012, and the remainder of the field will receive conditional Nationwide Tour status.

…  Joey Lamielle and Tommy Rymer, both of Sarasota, failed to advance past the second stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying School two weeks ago at two different Florida sites.


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