Strong Finish Keeps Perez at the Top


Pat Perez saved the best for last Saturday, birdieing his final two holes to maintain his lead with two rounds remaining in the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament in West Palm Beach, Fla.
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