Karlsson leads by one after three rounds at PGA TOUR Champions Q-School
Three players tied for second at 11-under at TPC Scottsdale
December 05, 2019
By Chris Richards, PGATOUR.COM
- December 05, 2019
- Robert Karlsson fired a third-round 65 to grab the lead. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – Sweden’s Robert Karlsson carded a third-round 65 to move to 12-under and take a one-shot lead entering Friday’s final round at the Final Stage of PGA TOUR Champions Q-School. First- and second-round leader Stephen Leaney (Perth, Australia) is tied for second at 11-under with Paul Stankowski (Flower Mound, Texas) and Shane Bertsch (Denver, Colorado) after 54 holes at TPC Scottsdale’s Champions Course.
Karlsson turned 50 on September 3 and advanced to the Finals through the First Stage in Florida, where he recovered from a first-round 77 to finish T15. Winner of the European Tour’s Order of Merit in 2008, Karlsson made 20 starts in Europe this season but had 11 missed cuts and just one top-10.
“This year I struggled a bit at the end of the season and didn't really enjoy the game, so I kind of had to reset for this,” Karlsson said. “I actually put myself under quite a lot of pressure in the First Stage by shooting a really bad first day, but it was quite nice to be a little bit under the pressure in Tampa. Playing qualifying golf is slightly different; you're trying to do it the same, but it's always going to be different.”
In addition to Karlsson (67-69-65), Stankowski (67-68-67) is the only other player to post three rounds in the 60s. A two-time winner on the PGA TOUR, Stankowski made five starts on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2019 in preparation for this week and next season. He turned 50 on December 2 and said he’s been eying PGA TOUR Champions since 2013.
“I'm going to play some next year regardless. I'm going to do all the Mondays (Qualifiers) and that was my plan, to take a year off broadcasting and be a kid again,” said Stankowski, who is a commentator for PGA TOUR Live. “Regardless of what happens here this week, I was going to go and play and chase the Champions Tour around like a kid.”
After making just two bogeys through 36 holes, Leaney made three bogeys Thursday en route to an even-par 71. He is tied for second and will look to earn his card through Q-School for the second year in a row, as he finished T4 and won a 4-for-2 playoff to claim one of the last two cards last year.
Joining Leaney and Karlsson in Friday’s final group will be Bertsch, who shot a third-round 65. Bob Sowards (Dublin, Ohio) shot 9-under 62 on Thursday, the best score of the tournament, and is T5 at 10-under, while Cameron Beckman (San Antonio, Texas) is also T5 after rounds of 71-66-66.
After Friday’s final round, the top-five players will earn fully exempt status on PGA TOUR Champions for the 2020 season.