"Monday is the hardest day of the week," said Bob Shearer as he finished his qualifying round for the Kemper Open golf tournament at Congressional Country Club yesterday.
Shearer, a 32-year-old Australian, managed to make qualifying look relatively easy. He shot a three-under-par 67, earning one of 22 places that filled the 156-man field for the $400,000 tournament starting Thursday. Shearer's score was matched only by Dana Quigley, of Barrington, R.I.
Fifty-two golfers teed it up in 90-degree temperatures to compete for the 22 slots and 10 alternate berths. Yesterday's play ended with 18 players earning a slot with 73 or better; 13 players tied at 74 playing off for four remaining slots. The nine who didn't make it were alternates.
One player, Darrel Kestner, 27, Welch, N.Y., was disqualified for signing and turning in an incorrect scorecard.
Kemper official Jack Boswell said another player successfully challenged Kestner's card and found the score to be a stroke higher than Kestner had indicated. "He had a 76. He wouldn't have made it anyway," Boswell said.
Heavy on the players' minds throughout much of the day was an issue that has been bandied around for several years, the possibility of the PGA tour approving an all-exempt tour, thus eliminating Blue Mondays.
Currently only the 60 top official money winners and other players meeting strict qualifications are exempt from qualifying.
The PGA tour policy board will meet here tonight and this will be one of the major topics of discussion.
For players like John Mazza, the top qualifier at last year's Kemper Open with a 66, failing to qualify bumps them out of a tournament after having passed qualifying school, winning a tour card and spending thousands of dollars shuttling to tournaments all year long. The bumping can be caused by one troublesome hole.
Mazza's nemesis yesterday was No. 5, as he took a triple bogey, finished with 74 and was eliminated in the playoff.
"I don't mind Mondays if they guarantee us some spots," said Mezza, 25, of Beaver Falls, Pa. "This is nothing. We earn our tour card, then you have to come out here and shoot nothing just to earn a spot. They should give us at least 50 spots."
Mazza said he is against discontinuing qualifying altogether.
Lyn Lott, 31, of Douglas, Ga., said he supports an all-exempt tournament concept. "I feel like they're making a good move by making it all exempt," Lott said after shooting a 72. "It gives people a chance to do something else if they're not playing golf."
Nonetheless, it was a bright Monday for Charlie Gibson, 27, of Phoenix. Gibson, who must earn $56 this week to keep his playing card, was exempted from qualifying by the tournament officials. Now, if he makes the 36-hole cut he keeps his playing card.