Hilton Head's Epperson near top in PGA Tour qualifying

info@islandpacket.comOctober 18, 2012 

Hilton Head Island's Chris Epperson is fourth after two days of the first stage of PGA Tour qualifying at The Club at Irish Creek in Kannapolis, N.C.

Epperson, at 6-under-par 69-67--136, is four shots behind leader Jason Millard, who has shot back-to-back 66s, with two rounds to play.

The top 19 and ties will advance from The Club at Irish Creek, one of 12 first-round sites.

The eGolf Tour is footing the bill for Epperson's qualifying school entry fees, roughly $4,500, as a result of his top-20 finish on the money list this season.

Epperson, the tour's highest-ranked player without a victory in 2012, finished third on the money list with $74,577 in earnings.

For the season Epperson made the cut in all 17 of his starts, finishing third three times and falling outside the top 25 in just one tournament.

At Lantana Golf Club in Lantana, Texas, where the top 18 and ties advance, 2012 Players Amateur champion Daniel Nisbet, 21, leads by three strokes at 10 under par.

Nisbet won the title by a stroke over University of Alabama star Bobby Wyatt in July at the rain-shortened, 54-hole event at Berkeley Hall.

For his victory, Nisbet earned an exemption into the 2013 RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links.

Players who advance past the first round will take part in one of six second-round tournaments, joining players exempted from the first round of qualifying.

From the second round, the players hope to advance to the grueling 108-hole final held Nov. 28-Dec. 3 at the PGA West Nicklaus and Stadium Courses in LaQuinta, Calif.

From there, the top 25 players will earn their PGA Tour cards, while the next 50 will earn full status on the Tour.

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