Four rounds, please, for what could be Marco Dawson’s farewell visit to the Cox Classic.
At 49 and with a birthday in November, Dawson may not be coming back to the Web.com Tour. The Champions Tour qualifying tournament could be the tour veteran’s next competition if he doesn’t finish in the top four this weekend at Champions Run.
“If I don’t qualify, I’ll try to Monday qualify on that tour,’’ Dawson said Thursday. “And hope I have some status on (the Web.com) Tour, too, so I’d have a place to play.
“That’s what I’m trying to do this week and why I’m playing, to get in far enough on the money list to have some status.”
Dawson is 120th on the money list and needs to be among the top 100 after this week to be a conditional Web.com Tour member in 2014. To crack the top 75 and advance to the new tour playoffs, he needs to make at least $35,000.
He started well, not making a bogey in a first-round 65. He’s tied for fourth place, two strokes off the lead. His six birdies were packed in between the par-4 fourth and 13th holes.
“A guy I just played with said my round could have been scary low,’’ Dawson said. “I missed on 18, I three-putted 17 (for a par 5), I missed a 10- or 12-footer on 15, I missed a 12 - or 15-footer on 14.’’
Dawson said his round included a few good breaks, including an approach shot on 18 from a steep sideline lie in the rough that ran onto the green’s back shelf to about 10 feet from the flagstick.
Omaha has been one of his favorite stops since the circuit was known as the Nike Tour.
“I’ve always liked this place. They’ve always treated us well,’’ he said.
Dawson’s first tournament in Omaha was his best. He finished third, behind winner Mathew Goggin and runner-up Casey Martin, in 1999. He’s tied for 13th in 2002 and for ninth in 2011 in his four most recent appearances at Champions.
He’s cashed more than $4 million on the PGA Tour, going winless but with a best finish of second at the Greater Milwaukee Open in 1995. Born in Germany, he turned pro in 1985 after graduating from Florida Southern in his adopted home state.