Billy Mayfair is not ready to be written off just yet.
At 45, he is no longer considered young for the PGA Tour, but he is also a handful of years shy of joining the Champions Tour. In essence, he is in that gray area — and not just on the head.
“I’ve still got five more years,” Mayfair said. “I’m not quite that far yet. You need to drive the ball well out here. It still comes down to chipping and putting — that’s how you score out here — and I putted very well.”
His round included 11 of 14 fairways hit, 14 greens in regulation and 27 putts — numbers that would put him in contention on any tour, regardless of age.
For as good as Mayfair’s round was, his season has been less than stellar. A 13th-place finish at the Farmers Insurance Open and a tie for eighth at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans are the only top 25 finishes in 21 starts this season.
“After winning tour school in December, I was really kind of was hoping to get off to a good start,” said Mayfair, who has five PGA Tour victories, though the last coming in 1998. “But as we all say, one week out here can change a lot of things. I’m still in the in FedEx Cup race.”
Mayfair has been on tour for 23 years since a standout amateur and collegiate career at Arizona State. He understands there are peaks and valleys, and that right now he’s in a low area.
One week, though, four rounds can change it all.
“Just putting four together,” he said. “I hit the ball very well last week when I was home and I hit it very well today, so hopefully I’ll get a few more days.”
Today, Mayfair sits 124th on the PGA Tour money list with $475,913. He is inside the top 125 to keep his tour card for 2012, but a win and a $1.08 million paycheck would vault him inside the top 40 for the season.
Not bad for a fortysomething.
Stuart Hall is editor of the Golf Press Association.