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End in sight at Q-School's final stage

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LA QUINTA, Calif. – The end is in sight for the 167 players that remain at the final stage of PGA Tour Q-School, not that looming closure will make the final 18 at golf’s ultimate ironman bout any easier.

For the likes of Steven Bowditch and Robert Karlsson, however, a solid Sunday will at least make Monday’s sixth round a little more tolerable. Bowditch carded a round-of-the-day 64 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West and leads by one stroke.

Not that an eight-stroke cushion between himself and the current cutoff for the top 25 and a 2013 Tour card seemed to be making life any easier for the Australian.

“I’m just ballstriking it really,” said Bowditch, who is at 23 under. “My putting has been brutal.”

It’s been a dramatic turnaround for Bowditch since last year’s Q-School when he missed earning his card by two strokes playing with a broken knuckle in his right hand that had been shattered in a car door during The McGladrey Classic.

Bowditch tried to play through the injury, finishing the year with starts at Disney, Q-School and three events back home in Australia, but he said he is now fully recovered and hitting the ball better than he has in years.

Karlsson could say the same thing. The two-time European Ryder Cup player faded into the pack with a Saturday 75 but rebounded on Day 5 with a 68 that included a double bogey at his last hole.

Still, the end can’t get here fast enough for the Swede.

“You don’t ever want to play this tournament,” said Karlsson, who is tied for 11th at 18 under par. “It’s horrible. Just a horrible atmosphere. Guys are playing for their living. At other tournaments it’s more positive.”

Korean phenom Meen Whee Kim can relate following a 75 on Sunday that dropped him from a tie for second into a tie for 30th. The other Kim, 17-year-old Si Woo, didn’t fare much better, shooting 70 to find himself tied with Meen Whee at 14 under.

Among the players currently on the bubble at 15 under are Tour winners Heath Slocum (72) and Chez Reavie (72), while Camilo Villegas (73) also struggled on Sunday and is tied for 46th.