By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Meen Whee Kim has a one-shot lead through the first two rounds of q-school after shooting a course-record tying 9-under 63 Friday on PGA West’s Stadium Course.
Another Kim, however, could make even bigger headlines.
Si Woo Kim is tied for 14th and 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.
Alone is second, meanwhile, is Vaughn Taylor, who shot a 64 on the Tournament Course.
Taylor is looking to secure his card via q-school for the second straight year after never finishing outside the top 100 on the money list from 2004 to 2010. Last year, he finished 148th before tying for fifth here. This year, he was 139th in earnings.
Other notables in good shape to finish in the top 25 and earn a card include Robert Karlsson ( who overcame an admitted case of the yips this year ), who is tied for fifth at 10 under, and Billy Horschel, who is one of nine players tied for 14th at 8 under.
Camilo Villegas is another stroke back after a 67 on the Tournament Course.
This is the first time Villegas has played in the final stage of q-school after failing to finish in the top 125 on the money list for the first time in his career.
“One thing is working hard with a purpose, but another is working hard without a purpose,” Villegas said of his struggles earlier this season. “A little bit of that happened with me and when that happened the good results went away, and when they go away the smiles go away and you’re miserable. You have a great life, but you’re miserable. Then you realize, ‘Why am I being so hard on myself?’ and you start playing good golf again and the smiles come back.
“I just wasn’t having as much fun as I should have been.”
A second-round 67 gave Villegas plenty to smile about, and in a tie for 23rd through the first two days puts him in position to regain his card.
A few notables haven’t been so fortunate: Billy Mayfair (5 under/T-39), Shaun Micheel (5 under/T-39), Nick O’Hern (4 under/T-59), James Nitties (3 under/T-71), Billy Hurley III (3 under/T-71), Patrick Cantlay (1 under/T-94), Tim Petrovic (even/T-110), Alex Cejka (1 over/T-127), Steve Flesch (1 over/T-127) and Todd Hamilton (2 over/T-142) are all on the outside looking in at the moment.