After one round of the final stage of Q-School, three golfers with area connections have work to do in their efforts to gain a PGA Tour card for the 2013 season.
South Aiken and University of Georgia product Kevin Kisner had the best day of the bunch Wednesday, carding a 1-under 71 at the Nicklaus Tournament Course in La Quinta, Calif. The four-birdie, three-bogey round put him seven back of leader Steve LeBrun in a tie for 82nd place, but most importantly, Kisner is three back of being in the top 25, the necessary mark for continuing his two-year PGA Tour career.
Aiken resident and former Clemson golfer Stephen Poole was next in line with an even-par 72 on the Nicklaus Course. That landed him in a tie for 111th place. His round included three birdies and three bogeys.
After playing most of the past few seasons on the eGolf Tour, Poole qualified for the final stage of the qualifying event by finishing with Kisner in the top 25 of the second stage of the event at Redstone Golf Club in Humble, Texas. Unlike Kisner, Poole had to go through the first stage in Florence, where he finished in a tie for 11th.
North Augusta and USC Aiken product Scott Brown, who exempted the first two stages of qualifying by finishing in the top 150 on the PGA's money list, was in a tie for 169th at 6-over after a 78 at the Nicklaus Course that included five bogeys, a double bogey and only one birdie.
The event will continue through Tuesday, with six total rounds to determine which players will finish in the top 25 and clinch a spot on the PGA Tour next year. The next 50 and ties will earn Web.com Tour cards.
Steve LeBrun shot an 8-under 64 on the Stadium Course to take the first-round lead. Edward Loar, Alexandre Rocha, Jin Park and Kris Blanks were a stroke back.
Other notables competing include Sweden's Robert Karlsson, an 11-time winner on the European Tour. He shot 66, while two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton had a 67 on the Stadium Course.
Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University and has been at the Aiken Standard since June 2010.