Former amateur standout Jerry Courville Jr., subject of a Mike Cullity Backspin in the Sept. 26 Golf World, has struggled through the first two rounds of the Champions Tour National Qualifying Tournament at TPC Eagle Trace in Coral Springs, Fla.
Courville, who turns 50 next Feb. 13 and has battled back problems in recent years, shot a second-round 79 and is T-62 through 36 holes at 10 over par. The Connecticut resident and 1995 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion got to Q school finals by finishing ninth at the Orlando regional qualifier.
One-time PGA Tour winner John Morse is the halfway leader. He shot a second-round 69 for an 8-under total, three shots ahead of Mark W. Johnson and six better than Jay Don Blake and Robert Thompson in the race for five full exemptions for 2009. The next seven finishers earn conditionally-exempt status with the 30 top finishers and ties eligible for open qualifiers.
A number of familiar PGA Tour names have some work ahead of them if they are going to secure a card for 2009. Ronnie Black, Mike Hulbert and Curt Byrum are T-15, Russ Cochran T-21, Mike Donald T-26, Gary Hallberg T-56 and Mac O'Grady T-69.
-- Bill Fields