MURRIETA, California — Dan Woltman knows there is a low round out there this week at Bear Creek Country Club. In fact, he was witness to one Wednesday during the second round of the second stage of Web.com Tour Qualifying School.
Unfortunately for the former University of Wisconsin golfer, the 9-under-par 63 that sent a buzz through Rickie Fowler's home course belonged to his playing partner, Armando Favela. The lefty from Chula Vista, California, moved to the front of the pack at 13-under 131 and owned a two-shot lead over former UCLA golfer Lorens Chan, whose 64 got him to 11-under 133.
"He putted well," Woltman said of Favela, who had seven birdies and an eagle in his bogey-free round. "He said he got a putting lesson about a month ago and he's been playing really well since then. He won an event two weeks ago and qualified last week for (the PGA Tour) Mayakoba (Classic in November). ... He hit a lot of fairways and hit a lot of greens and made a lot of putts."
It sounds so simple, doesn't it? But golf didn't come so easy Wednesday for the four golfers with Wisconsin ties in the 71-golfer field competing for 18 berths in the final stage for the PGA Tour's top developmental tour.
Oostburg native Patrick Stolpe, a 37-year-old who now calls Phoenix home, turned in the best round of the quartet with a 3-under-par 69. That boosted him into a tie for 15th place at 3-under 141 with 36 holes remaining.
"Everything was a little more comfortable," Stolpe said after making seven birdies and an eagle in his first trip to the second stage in four or five tries at Web.com Tour qualifying. "I putted a little better today. I kept the ball in play and hit the driver well. ... I just need to keep doing what I'm doing."
Mequon's Jordan Niebrugge kept doing what he was doing during an opening 66, finding fairways and hitting greens. As many putts as he made one day earlier, Niebrugge burned as many lips during his second-round 72, an even-par round that featured one birdie, one bogey and — count 'em — 16 pars.
"I felt like I hit an edge on every, single hole," Niebrugge said after reaching the halfway point tied for sixth at 6-under 138. "I played well. I hit it a little worse than (Tuesday), but I had a lot of great opportunities on the greens. I just seemed to hit a lot of edges, but had a lot of tap-in pars, which is good."
If there are, indeed, good 72s and bad 72s, River Falls' Neil Johnson has one of each after two trips around the Jack Nicklaus-designed Bear Creek layout.
Johnson started on No. 10 and birdied both par-5s on the back nine to make the turn in 2-under. He made eight pars and one double-bogey — the tough, par-4 fifth for the second day in a row — to remain in a tie for 30th place.
"It's a bad 72," Johnson said. "I made nothing (Wednesday). I had a couple violent lip-outs early and got beat by both guys I played with. It was bad.
"It was frustrating to walk off with 72 with the chances I had and the putts I (missed). ... Just lipped out a couple early. A couple mis-reads and it feels like it's horrible, a 72. I still believe what I said (Tuesday); I get more comfortable with greens as I go on in tournaments. Eventually, the putts will fall."
That's the hope to which Woltman is clinging after seeing Favela make his fair share in his 68-63 start. After a stellar summer in which he won four state open tournaments, including the Wisconsin State Open for the third time, the Beaver Dam native has inexplicably struggled with his ball-striking and has rounds of 73-74 to show for it and a lot of work to do the final two rounds.
"I made six bogeys," said Woltman, who went 93 holes without one at the height of his state open run this past summer. "It was a grind. It didn't go my way. I played with a guy that shot 9-under-par, shot 63. So it's out there.
"But my game is not where it needs to be, unfortunately. We're only halfway home. There's still two more rounds, but things need to change quickly."
Photos: Grinding in the sun on Day 2 of Stage 2 of Web.com Tour Qualifying School at Bear Creek CC in Murrieta, California
Wisconsin golfers Jordan Niebrugge, Neil Johnson, Patrick Stolpe and Dan Woltman on Day 2 of Stage 2 of Web.com Tour Qualifying School in Murrieta, California.
|IN CONTENTION - Qualifiers: 18 Alternates: 0|
|1||Armando Favela Chula Vista, CA||-9||F||-13||68||63||131|
|2||Lorens Chan Los Angeles, CA||-8||F *||-11||69||64||133|
|3||Brett Coletta Australia||-4||F *||-8||68||68||136|
|T4||Norman Xiong Las Vegas, NV||-4||F *||-7||69||68||137|
|T4||MJ Maguire St. Petersburg, FL||-3||F *||-7||68||69||137|
|T6||David Gazzolo Riverside, CA||-2||F *||-6||68||70||138|
|T6||Matt Campbell Clifton Park, NY||-5||F||-6||71||67||138|
|T6||Cody Blick Alamo, CA||-6||F||-6||72||66||138|
|T6||Jordan Niebrugge Mequon, WI||E||F||-6||66||72||138|
|T10||Jonny Baxter Pleasanton, CA||-4||F||-5||71||68||139|
|T10||J. Creel Cheyenne, WY||-2||F||-5||69||70||139|
|T12||Byron Meth Tempa, AZ||-4||F||-4||72||68||140|
|T12||Steven Alker Fountain Hills, AZ||-1||F||-4||69||71||140|
|T12||Harrison Endycott Australia||-3||F *||-4||71||69||140|
|T15||Patrick Stolpe Oostburg, WI||-3||F *||-3||72||69||141|
|T15||Jamie Sadlowski Canada||-1||F *||-3||70||71||141|
|T15||Manav Shah Bakersfield, CA||+3||F *||-3||66||75||141|
|T15||Zach Foushee Lake Oswego, OR||-2||F||-3||71||70||141|
|T15||John Oda Las Vegas, NV||+1||F||-3||68||73||141|
|T15||Timothy Madigan Las Cruces, NM||-3||F *||-3||72||69||141|
|T15||David Mathis Wake Forest, NC||-4||F||-3||73||68||141|
|NOT CURRENTLY IN CONTENTION|
|T22||Seann Harlingten Canada||E||F *||-2||70||72||142|
|T22||Yikeun Chang Hacienda Heights, CA||+2||F||-2||68||74||142|
|T22||Nick Flanagan San Antonio, TX||-4||F *||-2||74||68||142|
|T22||Richard Lee Phoenix, AZ||-1||F||-2||71||71||142|
|T26||Johnny Ruiz Camarillo, CA||E||F||-1||71||72||143|
|T26||Benjamin Alvarado Chile||-1||F||-1||72||71||143|
|T26||Brock Mackenzie Scottsdale, AZ||+2||F *||-1||69||74||143|
|T26||Chris Williams Moscow, ID||-2||F *||-1||73||70||143|
|T30||Neil Johnson River Falls, WI||E||F *||E||72||72||144|
|T30||Dusty Fielding Richfield, UT||+7||F *||E||65||79||144|
|T30||S.J. Park La Habra, CA||+2||F||E||70||74||144|
|T30||Steve Allan Scottsdale, AZ||-1||F||E||73||71||144|
|T34||Curtis Yonke Olathe, KS||+2||F||+1||71||74||145|
|T34||Eric McCardle Las Vegas, NV||-1||F||+1||74||71||145|
|T34||Denzel Ieremia (a) Ames, IA||-5||F||+1||78||67||145|
|T34||Riley Wheeldon Canada||+2||F||+1||71||74||145|
|T34||Michael Putnam University Place, WA||-6||F *||+1||79||66||145|
|T34||Chris Killmer Bellingham, WA||-1||F||+1||74||71||145|
|T40||Yannik Paul Phoenix, AZ||+2||F *||+2||72||74||146|
|T40||Edward Olson Aptos, CA||+1||F *||+2||73||73||146|
|T40||Andres Gonzales Lakewood, WA||+5||F *||+2||69||77||146|
|T43||Zane Thomas Las Vegas, NV||+3||F||+3||72||75||147|
|T43||Zahkai Brown Golden, CO||+3||F||+3||72||75||147|
|T43||Benjamin Campbell New Zealand||+2||F||+3||73||74||147|
|T43||Daniel Woltman Beaver Dam, WI||+2||F||+3||73||74||147|
|T47||Justin Keiley Haiku, HI||+5||F||+4||71||77||148|
|T47||Juan Diego Fernandez Paradise Valley, AZ||-1||F *||+4||77||71||148|
|T47||Kaleb Gorbahn Reno, NV||+2||F||+4||74||74||148|
|T47||Mathias Dahl Sweden||+4||F||+4||72||76||148|
|T47||Jimmy Gunn Mesa, AZ||+6||F *||+4||70||78||148|
|T47||Mark Hensby Scottsdale, AZ||+5||F *||+4||71||77||148|
|T47||Blair Hamilton Canada||+1||F||+4||75||73||148|
|T47||Ted Purdy Phoenix, AZ||+3||F *||+4||73||75||148|
|T55||Bart George Arnold, MD||+1||F||+5||76||73||149|
|T55||Ryan Williams Phoenix, AZ||+3||F||+5||74||75||149|
|T55||Alex Springer Stilwell, KS||E||F *||+5||77||72||149|
|T55||Skyler Finnell Carmel, CA||+2||F||+5||75||74||149|
|T55||Sebastian Saavedra Argentina||+3||F *||+5||74||75||149|
|60||Jay Hwang Fullerton, CA||+3||F||+6||75||75||150|
|T61||Myles Lewis New Orleans, LA||+1||F *||+7||78||73||151|
|T61||Ben Geyer Arbuckle, CA||+2||F||+7||77||74||151|
|T61||Alex Franklin San Rafael, CA||+4||F *||+7||75||76||151|
|T61||Robbie Greenwell Canada||+1||F||+7||78||73||151|
|T61||Jin Zhang Temecula, CA||+2||F *||+7||77||74||151|
|T61||Brad Adamonis Coral Springs, FL||+4||F *||+7||75||76||151|
|67||Andre Metzger Scottsdale, AZ||+5||F *||+8||75||77||152|
|68||Nahum Mendoza III Chula Vista, CA||+2||F *||+9||79||74||153|
|T69||Rhett Rasmussen (a) Draper, UT||+1||F *||+11||82||73||155|
|T69||Jonathan Sanders Chatsworth, CA||+2||F *||+11||81||74||155|
|71||Redford Bobbitt Las Vegas, NV||+12||F *||+12||72||84||156|