Ozaki Keeps Lead at Champions Q-School


Champions TourCALIMESA, Calif. -- Joe Ozaki managed to shoot just 1-over 73 on Friday, but he held onto his lead through three rounds of the Champions Tour National Qualifying Tournament. Ozaki completed 54 holes at even-par 216.
Kirk Hanefeld posted the best score of the week so far as he fired a 4-under 68. He was joined in a tie for second place at 2-over-par 218 by Norm Jarvis (70), Brad Fabel (71), Scott Masingill (72), Bill Longmuir (74) and Rick Karbowski (70).
Twenty-one of the remaining 85 five players were able to post rounds of even-par or better despite windy conditions on the Champions Course at PGA Southern California Golf Club. The field will be cut to the top-70 and ties after Saturday's fourth round.
Ozaki had an up-and-down round with just six pars. He fell back to even-par for the tournament with a bogey on the second, but The Japan native came right back with a birdie on the third.
The 49-year-old, who turns 50 in May, birdied the fifth as well to move to minus-2. After a bogey on seven, he birdied the ninth to make the turn at 2 under.
Ozaki stumbled back to even-par with bogeys on the 10th and 12th, both par- 4s. He wrapped birdies on the par-4 14th and par-5 16th around a bogey on the par-3 15th. Ozaki then bogeyed the last to end at even-par.
Hanefeld stumbled out of the gate with bogeys on one and three. He atoned for those mistakes with an eagle on the par-5 fourth. Hanefeld got to 2 under for his round with birdies on seven and nine.
He dropped a stroke on No. 10, but came right back to birdie 11. Hanefeld then parred the next four before dropping in an eagle on the 16th. He closed with consecutive pars to end at plus-2.
Jarvis played the front nine at even-par with one birdie and one bogey. Around the turn, the 53-year-old dropped a shot with a bogey on 12, but carded three birdies down the stretch to post a 70.
Karbowski ran off three birdies in a four-hole stretch from the second. However, he faltered to three straight bogeys from the seventh. Around the turn, Karbowski posted birdies on the 13th and 16th to end at plus-2.
Masingill bogeyed the first, then wrapped birdies on the fifth and seventh around a bogey at the sixth. On the back nine, he bogeyed the 12th and 13th. Masingill came right back to birdie 14 and 15 to shoot even-par for the day.
Fabel, a two-time winner on the Nationwide Tour, played the front nine in 1 under after a bogey on the fifth and birdies on two and eight. He faltered to bogeys at 10 and 13, but got those shots back as he birdied 15 and 16. Fabel closed with a bogey at the last to share second.
Longmuir carded three bogeys over his first 10 holes. He parred five straight holes from the 11th before sinking a birdie try on the 16th.
With the top seven players earning full exempt status for the 2006 season, Danny Edwards is one spot from gaining full status for next year. He is alone in eighth place at 3-over-par 219 after a third-round 72.
Jack Ferenz and John Ross each posted rounds of 1-under 71 to climb into a tie for ninth at plus-4. They were joined there by Tom Herzan, Massy Kuramoto, Frank Shikle and Mike San Filippo.
Six players withdrew after Thursday's round or early Friday morning. Howard Twitty, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, was plus-three entering the third round, but pulled out of the event early in his third round due to an illness in his family.
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - Champions Tour Final Qualifying Tournament
  • Full Coverage - Champions Tour Final Qualifying Tournament