University Place’s Andrew Putnam needed something to get him going on the leaderboard.
Birdies – many of them – helped.
He opened his third round at PGA Tour Qualifying School with three birdies in his first five holes – including the first one on a 30-foot putt at the 10th hole – and he finished with back-to-back birdies to fire a 6-under-par 66 at San Juan Oaks Golf Club.
Putnam (6-under 210) is tied for 11th – and in great shape to be one of the 22 golfers to advance to the second stage of Q-School.
Puyallup’s Derek Barron (75) fell back to tied for 46th at 1-over 217 after a rough opening nine, and Fife’s Chris Ming (72) and Lakewood’s Chris Griffin (73) are way back.
After hsi round, Putnam said his third round went much like the first 36 holes – except he made some birdies.
“Yeah, I don’t know – I played good the first two days. I just scored terribly,” Putnam said. “Nothing too much different.”
And the best thing about Thursday was that it was steady as steady could be.
“I had a lot of birdie putts,” he said.
“Obviously you want to shoot another one of those (66) today.”
Meanwhile, Barron will need something lower than that – a 64, maybe – to advance.
He opened with a birdie to get to 2-under, then bogeyed four of his next six holes.
“He can do this, though,” said Todd Erwin, Barron’s swing instructor through a text message. “He has the stuff to do it.”
AT PGA TOUR QUALIFYING SCHOOL
This week: First stage from Tuesday through Friday, San Juan Oaks Golf Club, Hollister, Calif.
In the field: Puyallup’s Derek Barron, Tacoma’s Chris Griffin, Fife’s Chris Ming and University Place’s Andrew Putnam.
Putnam’s third-round score: 6-under-par 66.
Ming’s third-round score: Even-par 72.
Griffin’s third-round score: 1-over 73.
Barron’s third-round score: 3-over 75.
Position: Putnam (6-under 210) is tied for 11th, Barron (1-over 217) is tied for 46th, Ming (7-over 223) is tied for 63rd and Griffin (8-over 224) is tied for 65th – all trailing leader Mark Warman (201).
Tee times Friday: Barron at 9:05 a.m. PDT off the 10th tee; Ming at 10:05 a.m. PDT off the 10th tee; and Putnam (first tee) and Griffin (10th tee) at 10:15 a.m. PDT.