HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Florida -- The road from Platteville to the PGA Tour Latinoamerica got a little dark Tuesday -- too dark, in fact, for Joshua Udelhofen to finish his opening round of the first session of Qualifying School.
Udelhofen was on the back nine at El Campeon Course at Mission Inn Resort & Club after having turned in 1-over-par 36. He finished off a 2-under 70 when he returned to the course Wednesday, wrapping up a bogey-free back nine that featured three birdies and a 3-under 34 to move up 24 spots into a tie for 13th place in the 72-hole event for the PGA Tour’s secondary developmental circuit.
Udelhofen, who played his college golf at Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa, bogeyed the par-5 first hole and the par-4 third to slip to 2-over. But he birdied the par-4 sixth hole in the middle of a six-hole stretch to end the front nine that he played in 1-under.
Udelhofen birdied Nos. 12, 14 and 18 to get into the top 15 after one round. Second-round play began immediately after the nine golfers who were unable to finish the opening round due to darkness.
This Q-School is the first of four qualifying events that the PGA Tour Latinoamérica will conduct for four consecutive weeks in four different countries -- the United States, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina.
The top 35 plus ties at each venue will gain status south of the border with the winner at each site exempt for the entire season. The next 10 for the first half of the year and the remaining 24 plus ties earning conditional status and the opportunity to play when the size of the field allows.
Trevor Simsby, 24, for Carlsbad, California, made seven birdies in a 5-under 67 that gave him the clubhouse lead when darkness suspended play with eight golfers still on the course. They will complete their opening rounds at 8 a.m. after other golfers begin the second round at 7:30 a.m.
Simsby’s 67 was the best of the 24 rounds under par that were finished Tuesday. The average score over the historic par-72 layout that opened in 1917 was 74.67 strokes.
“It’s a tricky (course) from the tee,” Simbsby said. “You have to be totally focused on each shot. Not only do you have to put the ball on the fairway, you have to look for the best angle. Today I put it in the center a couple of times and I found a tree clogging me, so you have to play the angles and be smart from the tee. "