Perez shot 2-under 70 to finish 72 holes of play at the Bear Lakes Country Club at 2-under-par 268. He leads Shaun Micheel by one shot. Micheel sank a 20-foot curler for birdie on the final hole for a round of 67.
Pete Jordan, a member of the PGA Tour since 1994, is in third place at 18-under, after a 64. Jordan finished this season 130th on the PGA Tour money list, and has conditional status on tour in 2002.
Going into this event, I figured I'd be in 20 tournaments next year off of last years money list, Jordan said. Im playing for 10, 15 more and be able to choose what I want to play in, instead of them telling me what to play.
Perez, a winner on the Buy.Com Tour in 2000, started the day two shots clear of Tommy Armour III, thanks to a third-round 63. He parred his first ten holes in the fourth round before bogeying the par-3 11th.
Perez then recorded an eagle at the par-5 12th, only to make his second bogey in three holes at No. 13.
Even-par on the afternoon, and tied for the lead, Perez birdied both the par-5 17th and the par-4 18th to regain a one-stroke advantage entering the final two rounds.
Managed a couple (of birdies) coming in - saved the day, Perez said. Im here to win. Obviously, the No. 1 guy is better off out of this deal ' just keep playing the way I am and see what happens the next two days.
Armour (71) and Robert Gamez (66) are among six players tied for fourth place at 17-under.
Gary Nicklaus shot 3-under 69 to finish four rounds tied for 13th at 15-under.
Meanwhile, 17-year-old Ty Tryon moved from a tie for 61st as the day began into a tie for 42nd with a Saturday 68.
The top 35 players and ties upon Mondays conclusion earn their 2002 PGA Tour cards.
Full-field scores from the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament