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Playoff highlights Greenbrier Classic qualifier

Jul. 27, 2010 @ 12:21 AM

   Pro golfers Bob Sowards and David Morland took different paths to reach their objective Monday.
   Sowards posted a 6-under-par 66 early in the day in the Monday qualifier for The Greenbrier Classic that was played on the Cobb Course (par-72) at The Resort at Glade Springs in Daniels, W.Va.
   Safe. ... most likely.
   “You never know until the last score is posted,” said Sowards, who did earn a spot in The Greenbirer Classic. “Everybody here can play. They all can shoot a 66. The pressure is on the whole time.”
   Morland signed for a 69 later and wound up in a five-way tie for the fourth and final spot for the PGA Tour FedExCup event scheduled Thursday through Sunday on the Old White course at The Greenbrier Resort.
   Morland won a five-way playoff with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 18th, the second extra hole, and advanced.
   A bogey on the final hole in regulation forced Morland to have an extended day.
   “I had a sour taste,” he said. “You worry about your shots, your putts. That’s all you can control.”
   Morland nearly ended the playoff on the first hole only to see his putt come to rest just short of the cup. After his drive on No. 18, he hit a 3-wood from 265 yards out onto the putting surface.
   “I was a little on edge after the first hole,” he said. “You’re under the gun and tend to get tentative. I’m 100 percent positive in my ability.”
   So far this season, Morland has qualified to play in five Nationwide Tour events and one on the PGA Tour.
   “This is more fun,” he said, knowing the Greenbrier purse is $6 million with the winner getting $1,080,000. “The way to avoid this (qualifying) is to play better.”
   Sowards, 42, is from Dublin, Ohio, and drove to the tournament. He was familiar with the Cobb Course from his college days at Glenville State.
   “I like the course. I framed it well,” he said. “I knew the greens were deep. You have to club yourself right. I hit it close most of the day.”
   Seventeen of the 43 players in the qualifier field broke par. Sowards said that shows how difficult it has become to advance to the big show. He once had exempt status on the PGA and Nationwide tours, but those days are over. Earlier this season, he made it into the John Deere Classic field through the Monday qualifier.
   Now Sowards has to learn all he can about Old White, a course he’s never played.
   “I’m not at as big a disadvantage this time,” he said, noting the 156 players who tee it up Thursday are playing the oldest course the PGA Tour visits this season for the first time. “It’ll mean a lot to see some old friends again. This is cool.”
   YOUTH DAY: Greenbrier Classic Youth Day is at 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, for the First Tee Chapters of West Virginia and Roanoke Valley, Va. Activities begin with a Youth Clinic. Trick shot artist Dennis Walters will be part of the show. Four tour players will join the kids for a four-hole scramble. The purse is a $10,000 donation.
   PGA TOUR WIVES: The Tour Wives Association will hold an event Wednesday at 10 a.m. Wives and children will pick the freshest produce at Greenbrier Farms to be donated to a local food bank.
   ROSTER SHUFFLE: Parker McLachlin and Andres Romero withdrew Monday. McLachlin’s wife is having a baby. Skip Kendall and Paul Stankowski are now in as they were the first two on the alternate list.
   INTERVIEW TIME: West Virginia Amateur champion Jonathan Bartlett, Boo Weekley and Brendon de Jonge are scheduled to meet with the media Tuesday. Bartlett and Carl Pettersson, who won the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday, were roommates at Central Alabama Community College.
David Walsh is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or dwalsh@herald-dispatch.com.

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