Two players with South Carolina ties, former Bluffton resident Kris Blanks and Greenville native Brent Delahoussaye, are inside the top 25 at the midway point of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament, aka Q-school, after Friday's third round at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Blanks' 5-under-par 67 moved him up three places to a tie for 15th at 7-under, while Delahoussaye, a former USC and Clemson player, vaulted 31 spots to a tie for 23rd with a 66, good for a 5-under total.
But the most impressive improvement came from Bishopville's Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey, who climbed from a tie for 147th (after a 75-77 start) into a share of 61st -- up 86 places -- with a 9-under 63.
Gainey matched the Friday score of co-leader and PGA Tour veteran J.P. Hayes, who shared the lead at 12-under with Troy Merritt. Merritt, atop the leader board since Day One, had two holes to play Friday when rain temporarily halted play (WILL UPDATE FOR SATURDAY ... THIS FOR ON LINE).
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The top 25 and ties from the 170-player field after Monday's sixth round will earn PGA Tour exemptions for 2010.
Others in sight of the top 25 include Aiken's Kevin Kisner and Charleston resident Bronson La'Cassie, tied for 36th after rounds of 69 and 70, respectively, and former Clemson player Stephen Poole of Aiken, who shot 68 and is at 2-under (T-50th).
North Augusta's Scott Brown (68 Friday) is at even-par and tied for 70th. Former USC player Mark Anderson (69) and former Furman player Matt Davidson (70) are tied for 97th.
Other S.C. players include Greenwood's Emmett Turner and former USC player Alex Hamilton (both 70, T-118th), Mount Pleasant's Brian Duncan (71, T-128th), ex-Wofford player William McGirt (73, T-137th), recent PGA Tour player and former Clemson All-American Charles Warren (71, T-145th), and former USC player Kyle Thompson (74, T156th). -- Bob Gillespie