David Roesch of Germantown has earned a reputation as a bright, conscientious and knowledgeable golf instructor and hopes to someday coach a college golf team.
He's 35, married and has two daughters, ages 2½ and 1. He's already had two shots on the Nationwide Tour, in 2006 and '08, without much success.
So what is Roesch doing at the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, a three-stage, 14-round, 252-hole grind that he describes as "almost torture"?
"I'm not getting any younger," he said. "My golf swing is better than ever. My wife and I sat down and talked and said this is probably the last time I'm going to try."
Roesch is one of five golfers with Wisconsin ties who made it through the 72-hole first stage of qualifying. The others were mini-tour players Charlie Delsman of Colgate, Garrett Jones of Rewey, Dan Woltman of Beaver Dam and Middleton native Jon Turcott.
They advanced to the second stage, where they are joined by PGA Tour veteran and Fox Point native Skip Kendall, who was exempt from the first stage.
Second-stage qualifiers are being held at six sites this week.
Roesch is at Redstone Golf Club in Humble, Texas, and played the first round Tuesday. He shot a 76 and was tied for 49th place in a field of 72. It was a slow start, but he also opened the first stage with a 76 and went 69-71-66 to finish third.
Competition at the other sites begins Wednesday. Delsman and Jones are at the Bayonet Course in Seaside, Calif.; Kendall and Turcott are at Hombre Golf Club in Panama City Beach, Fla.; and Woltman is at Bear Creek Golf Club in Murrieta, Calif.
"Second stage is probably the toughest one," Roesch said. "Everybody knows what's at stake."
The survivors move on to the 108-hole final stage, Dec. 1-6 at Orange County National in Winter Garden, Fla. Every golfer who makes it to the final stage is guaranteed a minimum of conditional status on the Nationwide Tour and the top 25 finishers earn exempt status on the 2011 PGA Tour.
Roesch, the 2004 Wisconsin State Open champion, has twice made it to the final stage but never made it all the way to the PGA Tour.
He decided to try one more time because he played some of the best golf of his career this year. Last week, he tied for 17th place at the 34th PGA Assistant Championship in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
"I felt like this year I had some breakthroughs in my game," Roesch said. "If you look at my scores in (Wisconsin PGA) Section events, except for one round at the State Open (79), I think I broke par 90% of the time I teed it up."
Of course, breaking par in WPGA events is not quite the same as beating PGA Tour veterans and mini-tour hotshots in the second stage of Q School. No one knows that better than Roesch, who made the cut at the 2004 U.S. Open but couldn't get past the Nationwide Tour.
"I don't have that big of expectations," he said. "I have a job. I'm a teaching pro. I think my real ambition is to be a college golf coach. If I had a college coaching job I wouldn't be here."
If Roesch or any of the Wisconsin pros gets hot and plays his best golf at the right time, he could wind up with a precious PGA Tour card.
"You're basically a few rounds away from potentially changing your life forever," Roesch said.
But if it doesn't work out, Roesch will be back on the lesson tee, trying to help other golfers achieve their goals. He also coaches the girls golf team at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School.
"I fly home Friday night and I'm teaching Saturday," he said. "For a lot of guys, their livelihood is at stake. My focus is teaching and being a coach. This is kind of a bonus: Go to Q School and see what you're made of."
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