2018 Web.com Tour Q-School | Stage 2 | Jordan Niebrugge

2018 Web.com Tour Q-School | Stage 2 | Jordan Niebrugge

MURRIETA, California — Jordan Niebrugge would have loved to skip Stage 2 of Qualifying School for the 2019 Web.com Tour, just as he did a year ago, and harvest all of the riches that go with a place in the final stage:

  • No worse than conditional status on the Web.com Tour.
  • Weekly passes from the annoying pre-qualifying for Web.com Tour and PGA Tour events directly into the Monday qualifiers, where the odds aren't great, just better.
  • Options for 2019 heading into the holidays without waiting for Qualifying Schools for  Mackenzie Tour/PGA Tour-Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamerica in January.

But the Mequon native found a little silver lining in having to tee it up Tuesday at Bear Creek Country Club to begin the process of getting back to the Web.com Tour (the PGA Tour's top developmental circuit): Momentum.

Niebrugge birdied four holes in a five-hole stretch on the back nine to start his round and four more holes in a five-hole stretch during the middle of the front nine. He saved par from a green-side bunker on No. 18 to finish off a 6-under-par 66, leaving him one shot off the lead after 18 holes of the 54-hole event.

Niebrugge led a contingent of four Wisconsin golfers on opening day.

River Falls native Neil Johnson and Oostburg native Patrick Stolpe, paired together for the first two rounds, shot matching 72s and were tied for 30th while Beaver Dam native Dan Woltman was another shot back after a 73 in a tie for 41st. The top 18 golfers plus ties following Friday's final round will advance to the final stage, which is Dec. 6 through 9 in Chandler, Arizona. 

"Last year, I went straight into (the Web.com) finals and I don't think I played in (more than) one tournament from the end of the (Mackenzie Tour) season to the final stage," said Niebrugge, who tied for 99th at the final stage where the only the top 45 golfers were fully exempt for 2018. "(This) is kind of a blessing in disguise. Once you start playing a couple of events in a row, that's where you gain the most from what you're doing out on the course. You know how you're playing and what you need to work on. Going into this week, I hadn't played (since Sept. 16), but it's a month less than last year."

Niebrugge looked sharp from start-to-finish during the opening round.

Starting on No. 10, the former Oklahoma State golfer went birdie-birdie-par-birdie-birdie to get to 4-under. He gave one shot back with a bogey at No. 15 and, after turning in 3-under, gave back another with a bogey at No. 2 before going birdie-birdie-par-birdie-birdie again starting at No. 3 to get to 6-under.

"I've had a couple rounds out here," said Niebrugge, who is staying with Kevin Dougherty — his former Cowboys teammate whose family lives on the back nine — and played practice rounds with the No. 26 finisher on the Web.com Tour money list. "It's pretty demanding off the tee on a couple holes. Once you can place your ball in a good spot off the tee, you can kind of attack from there. There are some tricky pins, where you have to be pretty patient, play where you want to be and I was able to make some putts (Tuesday)."

For Johnson, meanwhile, his round was predicated on avoiding the temptation to try to keep up with his playing partners off the tee. He chuckled when it was suggested he was a placekicker among linemen paired with Stolpe and Jamie Sadlowski, who won back-to-back RE/MAX World Long Drive titles in 2008 and '09 and was 7-under through 14 holes before fading to a 70.

"It was a fun day to be, by far, the shortest player in the group," Johnson said. "I'm like 'I'm hitting first (from the fairway) all day.' You have to check your ego at the door when that happens; just accept it. I'm going to hit my driver the same distance as Sadlowski's driving iron. That's how golf goes."

None of the four Wisconsin golfers was immune from golf's highs and lows.

Johnson and Woltman got the worst of it on the par-4 fifth hole, each making a double-bogey. Johnson hit his second shot into a green-side hazard, left his third shot in it, blasted his fourth shot over the green into a bunker and scrambled to make 6 with a 4½-foot putt. Woltman's woes came off the tee, where his drive down the left side kicked into a hazard and forced the former University of Wisconsin golfer to punch out, chip on and two-putt for his 6

"We were talking about it later; we've never stepped up on that tee and played it into the wind," Woltman said. "It's always off the right and all three of us (in his group) hit poor tee shots. Mine just scooted into the hazard and then I had to pitch out sideways because I had no shot from where I was.

"It's frustrating that the ending result is 1-over-par, but in four rounds you know you're not going to have your 'A' game all four rounds. Hopefully, this was the bad one and I got it out of the way. If I have three solid days, I should be in a good spot."

As for Niebrugge, who finished 145th on the Web.com Tour money list with $18,135 in 10 events and 14th in Canada with CAD$46,623 in five starts, his round was one shot off his season low and one back of Utah's Dusty Fielding.

"I've been playing great golf," Niebrugge said. "I'm just looking forward to keeping it rolling." 

 
PosPlayerToday    TotalR1R2R3R4Total 
IN CONTENTION - Qualifiers: 18  Alternates: 0
1Dusty Fielding  Richfield, UT-7F-765   65 
T2Jordan Niebrugge  Mequon, WI-6F *-666   66 
T2Manav Shah  Bakersfield, CA-6F-666   66 
T4John Oda  Las Vegas, NV-4F *-468   68 
T4MJ Maguire  St. Petersburg, FL-4F-468   68 
T4Brett Coletta  Australia-4F-468   68 
T4Armando Favela  Chula Vista, CA-4F *-468   68 
T4David Gazzolo  Riverside, CA-4F-468   68 
T4Yikeun Chang  Hacienda Heights, CA-4F *-468   68 
T10Brock Mackenzie  Scottsdale, AZ-3F-369   69 
T10Andres Gonzales  Lakewood, WA-3F-369   69 
T10Steven Alker  Fountain Hills, AZ-3F *-369   69 
T10J. Creel  Cheyenne, WY-3F *-369   69 
T10Lorens Chan  Los Angeles, CA-3F-369   69 
T10Norman Xiong  Las Vegas, NV-3F-369   69 
T16Jimmy Gunn  Mesa, AZ-2F-270   70 
T16Jamie Sadlowski  Canada-2F-270   70 
T16Seann Harlingten  Canada-2F-270   70 
T16S.J. Park  La Habra, CA-2F *-270   70 
NOT CURRENTLY IN CONTENTION
T20Riley Wheeldon  Canada-1F *-171   71 
T20Mark Hensby  Scottsdale, AZ-1F-171   71 
T20Harrison Endycott  Australia-1F-171   71 
T20Richard Lee  Phoenix, AZ-1F *-171   71 
T20Curtis Yonke  Olathe, KS-1F *-171   71 
T20Justin Keiley  Haiku, HI-1F *-171   71 
T20Jonny Baxter  Pleasanton, CA-1F *-171   71 
T20Johnny Ruiz  Camarillo, CA-1F *-171   71 
T20Zach Foushee  Lake Oswego, OR-1F *-171   71 
T20Matt Campbell  Clifton Park, NY-1F *-171   71 
T30Cody Blick  Alamo, CAEF *E72   72 
T30Benjamin Alvarado  ChileEF *E72   72 
T30Timothy Madigan  Las Cruces, NMEFE72   72 
T30Yannik Paul  Phoenix, AZEFE72   72 
T30Redford Bobbitt  Las Vegas, NVEFE72   72 
T30Zane Thomas  Las Vegas, NVEF *E72   72 
T30Patrick Stolpe  Oostburg, WIEFE72   72 
T30Neil Johnson  River Falls, WIEFE72   72 
T30Zahkai Brown  Golden, COEF *E72   72 
T30Byron Meth  Tempa, AZEF *E72   72 
T30Mathias Dahl  SwedenEF *E72   72 
T41Chris Williams  Moscow, ID+1F+173   73 
T41Steve Allan  Scottsdale, AZ+1F *+173   73 
T41Benjamin Campbell  New Zealand+1F *+173   73 
T41David Mathis  Wake Forest, NC+1F *+173   73 
T41Ted Purdy  Phoenix, AZ+1F+173   73 
T41Daniel Woltman  Beaver Dam, WI+1F *+173   73 
T41Edward Olson  Aptos, CA+1F+173   73 
T48Nick Flanagan  San Antonio, TX+2F+274   74 
T48Chris Killmer  Bellingham, WA+2F *+274   74 
T48Sebastian Saavedra  Argentina+2F+274   74 
T48Kaleb Gorbahn  Reno, NV+2F *+274   74 
T48Ryan Williams  Phoenix, AZ+2F *+274   74 
T48Eric McCardle  Las Vegas, NV+2F *+274   74 
T54Skyler Finnell  Carmel, CA+3F *+375   75 
T54Brad Adamonis  Coral Springs, FL+3F+375   75 
T54Blair Hamilton  Canada+3F *+375   75 
T54Alex Franklin  San Rafael, CA+3F+375   75 
T54Jay Hwang  Fullerton, CA+3F *+375   75 
T54Andre Metzger  Scottsdale, AZ+3F+375   75 
60Bart George  Arnold, MD+4F *+476   76 
T61Jin Zhang  Temecula, CA+5F+577   77 
T61Juan Diego Fernandez  Paradise Valley, AZ+5F+577   77 
T61Alex Springer  Stilwell, KS+5F+577   77 
T61Ben Geyer  Arbuckle, CA+5F *+577   77 
T65Myles Lewis  New Orleans, LA+6F+678   78 
T65Denzel Ieremia (a)  Ames, IA+6F *+678   78 
T65Robbie Greenwell  Canada+6F *+678   78 
T68Michael Putnam  University Place, WA+7F+779   79 
T68Nahum Mendoza III  Chula Vista, CA+7F+779   79 
70Jonathan Sanders  Chatsworth, CA+9F+981   81 
71Rhett Rasmussen (a)  Draper, UT+10F+1082   82

Rob started covering the Wisconsin golf scene in 1987 at the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison & has been the only reporter covering all levels of state golf. He joined Killarney Golf Media in Sept. 2015 & helped launch Wisconsin.Golf in Jan. 2016.