The quest continues for Jason Allred.
The quest continues for Jason Allred.
Granted, the professional golfer is saddled with having to make the most of infrequent playing opportunities, but he understands.
Been there, done that.
"I put myself in this pickle this year," said the native of Ashland and resident of Scottsdale, Ariz., who turned 33 two weeks ago.
Allred continues to chase his dream of competing on and winning tournaments at the highest level, the PGA Tour. He has conditional status on the Web.com Tour, the feeder circuit to the PGA, but getting into tournaments is dependent upon his ranking and openings in the fields.
So far, he's played in two of the Web.com's six tournaments. Both were on foreign soil, in Chile and Brazil, and each time he played reasonably well but barely missed the cut.
For another tournament, in Colombia, he was the "second or third" alternate and had his bags packed, but his number didn't come up.
"I've been all over the map, that's for sure," said Allred. "I'm so thankful that I get to keep doing what I love. I still have big dreams about it, and I'm excited for that."
Since graduating from Pepperdine University and turning pro in 2002, Allred has had five seasons in which he was fully exempt on the PGA (2005 and '08) and Web.com tours ('06, '07 and '12).
This season, as in others, he takes work where he can get it.
On Friday, he had a strong finish in a three-day All-American Gateway Tour event in Peoria, Ariz., shooting a final-round, 5-under-par 67. It followed a pair of 71s and vaulted him from a tie for 22nd place to a tie for eighth. He earned $3,000.
The next two weeks, he'll be in Georgia attempting to Monday qualify for Web.com Tour events. He's too far down on the alternate list to get in either with his ranking.
Monday qualifiers attract roughly 300 players to two sites. Seven players from each course make it into the tournament.
Allred is grateful to have the Gateway Tour at his doorstep — most tournaments are within reasonable driving distance — and the competition is strong. There are 161 former Gateway players with PGA and Web.com Tour status.
"It's great," said Allred. "Naturally I'd like to get out on the Web.com Tour as much as I can, but with my status this year, it's a little hit and miss. But it's nice to compete if I'm not out there."
He was 81st on the Web.com Tour money list last season. Sixty players earned full exemption on the tour this year, allowing them entry into all the tournaments. Another 50 players from PGA Tour Qualifying School have the same status, and lower-ranking PGA Tour players have access to the Web.com Tour if they don't get in the PGA event on a given week.
There's not much left over for those with conditional status.
The Web.com Tour reshuffles player rankings based on earnings every four weeks or so. By missing the cuts in his two events, Allred dropped a bit in the rankings but not far enough to change his status.
"My starts in tournaments have been limited so far," he said, "based on my ranking. If I can Monday qualify or get in tournaments based on my ranking and have a good tournament, it can change quickly. Hopefully I'll improve my status.
"Guys who are conditional, like myself, we're all aware that if we make a check, it'll boost us up the list quite a bit."
"We also have a sense of when we're close to the cut number," he said.
Allred said he doesn't dwell on the cut line. He'd rather have the mindset of trying to win the tournament, realizing that with good play, making the cut will take care of itself. However, he admitted, he could have "played a little more aggressively" in Brazil, where he missed the cut by one shot.
"I'm on the verge of shooting good scores," he said. "I just haven't gotten the ball in the hole like I need to."
Entering this season, Allred played in 93 Web.com tournaments. He twice finished as high as third and has had six top 10s and 18 top 25s.
His best finish last year, when he was in the top 25 six times, was a tie for 12th at the Mylan Classic in Canonsburg, Pa.
Allred attempted Q School last fall but didn't make it past the first stage.
That was then, this is now.
"Gosh, (last year) I had a great year, all things considered, on and off the course," said Allred. "I'm really thankful for that. The results didn't meet some of my goals. ... But I'm encouraged. I'm playing well right now, and I feel like if I keep giving myself chances and get myself ready for when opportunities come, I'll be all right."
He hopes it starts Monday with qualifying for the South Georgia Classic in Valdosta, where he tied for 38th place a year ago.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email email@example.com