Soquel’s Nathan Smith on cusp of qualifying for PGA Tour … again

In professional golf, you don’t get shots like this too often – a chance to make the big-time, to play against the best players in the world in exotic locations for the biggest prize money.
The goal? Making the PGA Tour.
Nathan Smith’s steady play has given him two chances at the PGA in the span of two months.
Smith, a Soquel native, shined in his rookie season on the Nationwide Tour. After winning WNB Golf Classic in Midland, Texas, on Sept. 26, he jumped into the top 25 for money winners for the season. But there were five events left and Smith needed to stay in the top 25 to earn his PGA Tour card for the 2011 season.
That didn’t happen. He struggled at the Chattanooga Classic and Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open in October, and finished in 33rd at the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island on Oct. 31.
He wound up finishing 27th on the Nationwide Tour money list.
But there was second life. He qualified for the the final stage of PGA Q School based on his season performance. Normally, there are three stages of qualifying, which Smith shined at in 2010. It earned him entrance into the Nationwide Tour.
Smith has been dialed in this week at Q School in Winter Garden, Fla. He sits in a tie for seventh place after five rounds with a 12-under 345 total at Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge. He needs to finish in the top 25 to earn his PGA Tour card for the 2011 season and has a few strokes to play with.
Monday, he has a second chance at making his dream reality. And it will make for exciting television. The final round of Q School will be televised on the Golf Channel from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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