Epperson makes it to final stage of PGA Tour Q-School

Hilton Head Island's Chris Epperson successfully navigated his way through the second stage of PGA Tour Qualifying School on Friday -- with room to spare -- by firing a 2-under-par 70 in the final round at Redstone Golf Club in Humble, Texas.

Epperson finished with a four-round total of 287, placing him in a tie for 11th. A score of 290 would have been enough to send him to the final stage of Q-School, which will be held Dec. 1-6 at Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge near Orlando, Fla.

James Driscoll and Scott Weatherly each had a 275 total to share the top spot at Redstone.

Martin Catalioto of Hilton Head Island gave himself a chance at advancing to the final stage by shooting a 3-under 69 Friday in the third round at Bear Creek Golf Club in Murrieta, Calif., but he still has lots of ground to make up. The top 20 and ties will move on, which is six strokes better than Catalioto's current score. He is tied for 46th with a score of 5-over 221.

In Coral Springs, Fla., Bluffton's Tom McKnight saw his quest of returning to the Champions Tour fall just short, as he finished up the senior tour's Q-School with a 2-over 74 at TPC Eagle Trace. That left him with a final score of 1-over 287 -- one stroke shy of the top 30.

The top five finishers earned fully exempt status in full-field events for 2011, while the next seven grabbed conditional exemptions. The top 30 and ties are eligible to enter weekly event qualifiers.

Keith Clearwater was the event's medalist, finishing at 16-under 272. Frankie Minoza, Lee Rinker and Phil Blackmar will join him on the Champions Tour in 2011, as will John Morse, who won a three-man playoff for the final spot in the top five.