By John Manley
Richard Coughlan made life infinitely more difficult for himself by shooting a 76 rather than a 74 in the second stage of the PGA Tour’s Qualifying Tournament. He missed the cut to advance to the Q-School finals in two weeks, which at the very least would have reserved a space for him on the 1999 Nike Tour.
But now? A year of Monday qualifiers, groveling for sponsor’s exemptions, and playing the mini-tours looms.
Coughlan began the 72-hole qualifier at Grenelefe in Haines City, Fla., well enough with a 72. But he blew up to a 76 the second time around. He recovered with a 69 in the third round, then shot 72 to close. His total score of 289 was two off the 287 that would have allowed him to advance.
Coughlan’s best hope of turning his fortune around will be to gain admittance to either a PGA Tour or Nike Tour event, finish in the top 10, thereby gaining entry into the next week’s tournament, and parlay those outings into enough earnings to avoid the whole sordid qualifying carousel next year.
P.J. Cowan won’t be returning to the Nike Tour next year, either. Cowan also finished at 289 (72-76-69-72) and will be looking for another tour on which to hone his game. His year has been marred by injury and he never did make an impact in a Nike event in 1998.
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Sarazen world open
This $2 million event at The Legends of Chateau Elan in Braselton, Ga., brings together the winners of national open championships over the last two years, along with a smattering of invitees. Three Irishmen teed off.
Padraig Harrington produced the best showing, a tie for 13th at 3-under-par 285 (70-73-67-75). Paul McGinley tied for 26th at 3-over 291 (73-68-73-77).
James Loughnane failed to make the cut by two strokes with his score of 6-over 150 (75-75). Dudley Hart was a runaway winner with a final score of 16-under 272.