By PGA TOUR staff
LA QUINTA, Calif. — Meen Whee Kim carded a 5-under 67 on Friday to maintain his one-shot lead through the first three rounds of q-school, this after shooting a course-record tying 9-under 63 on Thursday.
Kim, 20, was at 18-under 131 and led Sweden’s Robert Karlsson by one shot.
The top 25 and ties will earn PGA TOUR cards for the 2013 season. The next nearest-number-to-50 will earn fully exempt Web.com Tour cards for the first 10 events in 2013, and the remainder of the field will receive conditional Web.com Tour status.
Karlsson chalked up nine birdies en route to a 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Karlsson struggled on the PGA TOUR in 2012, making only 11 cuts in 17 starts and finished No. 160 on the final money list. His best finish was a T17 at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Vaughn Taylor finished his day eagle-birdie-bogey for a 3-under 69. Taylor is at 15-under 201 and T4. He finished T5 here a year ago to regain his PGA TOUR card for the 2012 season.
Meanwhile, Si Woo Kim carded a 71 to fall to 31st place. Kim, at 17 years, 5 months and 6 days on Monday, would be the youngest player ever to reach the PGA TOUR via q-school. In 2001, Ty Tryon became the youngest player to reach the TOUR via that route. He was 17 years, 6 months, 1 day old when he tied for 23rd.
Should Kim earn his card, though, he wouldn’t be able to take up membership until June 28th of next year when he turns 18. He could play no more than 12 PGA TOUR events as a non-member on sponsor exemptions or Monday qualifiers prior to that date.
Camilo Villegas is making a charge to return to the TOUR. Villegas shot a third-round 66 to move into a tie for ninth place. In 2012, Villegas failed to finish inside the top 125 on the money list for the first time.
Among the players in danger of missing out on their cards: Billy Hurley III (T-44), Billy Mayfair (T-75), Shaun Micheel (T-75), Nick O’Hern (T-75), Tim Petrovic (T-75), Patrick Cantlay (T-108), Todd Hamilton (T-132) and Steve Flesch (T-149).