Albany pro golfer Broadaway near top of leaderboard at PGA Tour Q-School

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Albany native Josh Broadaway came awfully close in 2009 to winning his first professional golf tournament on the Nationwide Tour.

Now he's setting his sights even higher.

Broadaway finished the second round of the PGA Tour's Q-School -- the annual, six-round qualifying tournament in which pro golfers try to play their way onto the PGA Tour -- at 3-under and now is tied for 8th overall, putting him just two shots off overall leader Troy Merritt.

All Broadaway needs to do is finish the sixth and final round Monday in the Top 25, including ties, and he'll earn his PGA Tour card after five previous tries at Q-School.

"I'm playing well right now," Broadaway said Thursday evening. "But at the same time, you can't get too excited this early. It's a long process (playing six rounds in a row) and I just have to make sure I stay steady and consistent so I don't shoot myself out (of contention)."

Which, he says, has happened in the past.

"I've been right there in the Top 10 going into the fifth round a couple of times," he said. "But that's where I've had my trouble. So I'm just trying to take it day by day and not think that far ahead just yet."

Alternating play on the Links and Lakes courses at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla., first-round leader Merritt shot a 3-under 69 on Thursday to maintain his one-stroke lead.

Jay Williamson was alone in second after a 69 and Tour veteran Jeff Maggert, Andrew McLardy, Ted Brown and Michael Connell all shot 67 and were in a group at 6 under. David Duval, Tim Herron and Jesper Parnevik were in a group at even par.

Broadaway, meanwhile, didn't get an automatic invite to Q-School this year like he has in the past after finishing out of the Top 70 on the Nationwide money list. Broadaway ended the season 72nd.

Instead, he had to play his way into the tournament by finishing tied for 10th overall at the Q-School's First Stage in Dallas two weeks ago, then he bested that by finishing third overall at the Second Stage last week in Panama City, Fla. Usually, the Top 18to-21 players advance onto the next round.

"I mean, I am definitely playing well, peaking at the right time," said Broadaway, who tried, but failed to qualify for his PGA card in 2003, '06, '07 and '08. "The key is to not put up too many big numbers, make some birdies and just keep doing what I'm doing. And who knows? Maybe this will finally be the year."