Former Bluffton resident Kris Blanks fired a second-round, 7-under-par 65 and moved into the magical top 25 and ties at the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, aka “Q-school,” during Thursday’s play at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Blanks, a former Hilton Head club professional who played the PGA Tour in 2009, is at 2-under 142 and tied for 18th in the field of 170 PGA Tour hopefuls with four rounds to play. First-round leader Troy Merritt shot a 3-under 69 to maintain his position atop the field at 8-under-par, a shot ahead of PGA Tour veteran Jay Williamson (69, 7-under).
Charleston resident Bronson La’Cassie and Aiken native Kevin Kisner shot rounds of 2-under 70. La’Cassie, an Australian native, is tied for 30th at 1-under after two rounds, while Kisner is at even-par 144 and tied for 39th.
The top 25 players and ties after Monday’s sixth round earn PGA Tour exemption for 2010.
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Others among the 15 entrants with South Carolina ties failed to gain much ground Thursday. Former Clemson players Brent Delahoussaye and Stephen Poole, North Augusta’s Scott Brown and former Furman player Matt Davidson all shot 71, with Delahoussaye (1-over) tied for 54th, Poole (2-over) tied for 68th and Brown and Davidson (4-over) tied for 100th.
Former USC player Mark Anderson (74) and ex-Wofford player William McGirt (71) are at 5-over (T-111th). Former S.C. Amateur champion Alex Hamilton of Aiken (72), Greenwood’s Emmett Turner (75) and former Clemson player Brian Duncan (77) are 6-over and T-125th.
Two other 2009 PGA Tour members, Bishopville’s Tommy Gainey and former Clemson All-American Charles Warren of Columbia, shot 77 and 79 to tumble to 8-over (T-147th). Former USC player Kyle Thompson (75) is tied for 158th.
-- BOB GILLESPIE