With the start of the final stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, Scott Brown's not bothered by the built-in pressure of the event -- not with what he's been through this year.
A freak injury derailed the former USC Aiken standout's first full season on the Nationwide Tour. But he healed in time to play some of his finest golf of the year.
Brown shot 18-under-par two weeks ago to tie for first in the second stage of Q-school at Southern Hills Plantation Club in Brooksville, Fla.
"It was a combination of everything coming together at once," he said. "It's always good to play well this time of year, especially if you have to go to Q-school."
Brown, 27, now takes his game to the final stage which begins today at Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge in Winter Garden, Fla. Will Claxton, of Swainsboro, Ga.; David Robinson, of Sandersville, Ga.; and former Augusta State golfer Richard Johnson also are competing in the six-round event which concludes Monday.
The low 25 players and ties will earn a PGA Tour card. The next number of finishers nearest to 50 earn fully-exempt status on the Nationwide Tour. The remaining players will receive conditional status on the Nationwide Tour. Brown said at worst he'd be able to play four or five of the first seven events on the 2011 Nationwide Tour schedule and then go from there.
In his initial season, Brown posted three top-10 finishes and two other top-25 showings. He made the cut in 13 of his first 21 events and was 41st on the money list -- well within the top-60 needed to retain his card for the 2011 season.
Then, his season came to a halt in late August. Practicing for the Greater Knoxville Open, he felt a pain in his right ribs after taking a swing. The fracture caused him to miss the following six weeks.
"I probably did a little too much," he said. "It's a very random thing."
The former Division II player of the year returned to the Augusta-Aiken area, took some time off and finally regained his health. Injury free, he worked out from dusk to dawn at Augusta Country Club and Palmetto Golf Club. The renewed effort paid off when he shot rounds of 65-68-70-67 at the second stage of Q-school in Brooksville, Fla.
Now, Brown is looking to play his way onto the PGA Tour. And he knows what he needs to do.
"I've just got to stay positive," he said. "It's six rounds. One bad round doesn't take you out of it."