Northeast Ohio Golf contributor Derek Duda is working as professional caddie and greens reader for Jacob Scott this week in La Quinta, CA at the Finals of the 2014 PGA Tour Q-School. Derek will provide daily updates on his man plus Northeast Ohio natives Ryan Armour and Justin Lower as they make their way through six rounds of qualifying.
Wednesday December 11th: One Day Before Round 1
I felt like I was back in Brecksville at Sleepy Hollow yesterday, as our day was cut short by a frost delay this morning. We couldn’t access the courses until about 930am, and at that point there were 100 players waiting try to start on #1 and #10 of each course. We decided our time would be better spent on the practice ground. Jake spent 30 or so minutes on the range and another hour in the short game area. Due to the variety of grasses at PGA West, chip and pitch shots tend to react differently than in Jake’s place in North Carolina. We were pleased with the work we put in and he now feels much more comfortable executing various shots around the greens.
We eventually were able to play the back 9 of the Nicklaus Tournament Course. It is far less severe than PGA West Stadium, but still very challenging. Luckily we put in a great deal of work on Monday and we had fewer holes to see today. We have now played all 36 holes and have come up with a suitable game plan. Wednesday we will plan on playing the Stadium Course one more time to see if we can execute our game plan or if we need to modify it before Thursday morning.
The groupings and starting times came out on Tuesday as well for the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday. Jake starts on #10 of the Stadium Course at 1020am (Pacific time) Thursday and Friday on #1 of the Nicklaus Tournament Course.
We left the course and headed back the place we are staying to relax for a few hours and catch up on some work. We then headed 90 miles to the Ontario, CA airport to pick up my good friend and former CSU Viking teammate Tom Porten. Tom was coach at CSU for 16 years and recruited Jake out of high school to play at Cleveland State. He is currently the Director of Golf at Northern Illinois University and a swing guru. He will take a look at Jake Wednesday morning on the range to see if he needs any minor tweaking. Tom does a great job of staying in touch with his former players and is always around to provide improvement ideas for Jake. We do a great deal with video capture during practice sessions and take advantage of some of the technology to send Tom occasional updates of Jake’s swing. He can quickly look at it and provide answers within minutes.
I did finally get a chance catch up with Ryan Armour and Justin Lower. Due to the frost delay I ran into both of them on the range. Both were delayed in their travel to California by adverse weather conditions delaying and canceling flights. Justin mentioned he was cancelled twice on Sunday. He was headed over to play the Stadium Course and Ryan was headed over to play the Nicklaus Tournament Course.
Justin will start on the Nicklaus Tournament Course on #1 of the Nicklaus Tournament Course at 840am.
Ryan starts his week off on #1 of the Nicklaus Tournament course at 1020AM as well, where he will be joined by fellow OSU Buckeye alum Jamie Sindelar.
Everybody is looking forward to Thursday with much anticipation.