Lee, Wilkinson fire back into q-school contention
They looked down and out after two rounds but New Zealand golfers Danny Lee and Tim Wilkinson have now given themselves a realistic shot at claiming a PGA Tour card after catching fire in today's fifth round.
Both players are just one stroke off the top 25 and ties who will gain full playing rights for next year, with one round remaining in the six-day final stage qualifying event in La Quinta, California.
Lee jumped 16 places and now shares 30th spot in the 172-strong field at 14-under par after a bogey-free five-under 67 in the fifth round, while Wilkinson was also blemish-free but went two better than his compatriot with a seven-under 65 to jump 39 places. He also shares 30th at 14-under.
The magic number is currently 15-under - there are six players tied for 24th at that mark - but Lee and Wilkinson could have to be 16 or 17-under by the end of play tomorrow, depending on scoring conditions.
Lee couldn't take advantage of the par-fives today, with just one birdie, but for one of the few times this year he played 18 holes without a bogey which allowed him to score well.
Wilkinson, on the other hand, played the four par-fives in five-under today with three birdies and an eagle, adding a couple of birdies at par-fours.
After Lee's 72-75 start, which had him hovering around 150th after two rounds, the 22-year-old has shot 67, 65 and 67 in his last three rounds and another score in the 60s tomorrow should be good enough to make the cut.
Wilkinson, 34, also started slowly with 71 and 73 but has bounced back with a 69, 68 and today's excellent 65 as he seeks to replicate his 2007 q-school success.
Australian Steven Bowditch leads the tournament on 23-under par after rounds of 73, 67, 66, 67 and 64.
Meanwhile, Auckland professional Cathryn Bristow has failed in her bid to qualify for the 2013 LPGA Tour in the United States.
Bristow finished the five-round final stage qualifying event in Florida in a share of 62nd place at five-over par, following rounds of 76, 71, 76, 70 and today's even-par 72.
She misses full playing status (for the top 20 and ties) as well as conditional or limited status, for players finishing 21st through to 45th and ties.
Canada's Rebecca Lee-Bentham and Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn tied for top spot at 13-under par 347 at LPGA International.