Notes: LeBrun leads after Round 1 of q-school


Weather: Sunny skies. Wind out of the south at 5 mph. High of 78.

• Steve LeBrun birdied four of his final five holes Wednesday for an 8-under 64 at the Stadium Course and the first-round lead. LeBrun birdied six par-4s during his round. LeBrun is making his fourth appearance in the Qualifying Tournament. He has failed to earn his PGA TOUR card in his three previous starts (2003, 08, 11). LeBrun made the cut in 14 of 21 starts on the Tour in 2012. He had four top-10 finishes and wound up No. 56 on the money list.

• There are 76 players in the field of 172 who are making their first appearance in the PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament.

• Edward Loar fired a 7-under-par 65 at the Stadium Course. Loar started on the back nine and closed that side with a pair of birdies to turn at 3-under. He added five more on the front, including four in a row (#4-7) before closing with a bogey at No. 9. Loar is making his fourth appearance in the PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament. He finished T58 in 2006, T109 in 2010 and T18 a year ago. Last year, Loar opened with a 5-under 67 at the Nicklaus Tournament course and was T10 after the first round. He later added a 5-under 67 at the Stadium Course in the fifth round.

Loar made only seven cuts in 23 starts on the PGA TOUR in 2012 and wound up No. 210 on the money list. Loar also earned his first career win on the Tour when he won the second event of the season, the Panama Claro Championship.

• Alexander Rocha closed his round on the front side with consecutive birdies for a 7-under 65. Rocha is making his third straight appearance in the Qualifying Tournament. Rocha earned his PGA TOUR card in both 2010 and 2011. Rocha made 11 cuts in 21 starts on Tour this year and wound up No. 131 on the money list. His best week was a playoff loss at the Reno-Tahoe Open.

• Adam Crawford of Queensland, Australia fired a bogey-free, 6-under 66 a the Stadium Course. Crawford is making his first appearance in the PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament. Crawford, 37, has been playing on the Australasian Tour and finished seventh on the 2012 Order of Merit. He has also made 23 starts on the European Tour since 2002.

• Sweden's Robert Karlsson also played bogey-free in the first round, shooting a 6-under 66 at the Nicklaus Tournament Course. This is only Karlsson's second appearance at the Qualifying Tournament -- he missed the 72-hole cut back in 1995. Since 1996, Karlsson has made 287 starts on the European Tour, with 10 wins, 10 runner-up finishes and 10 third-place finishes. He has also made 103 starts on the PGA TOUR. He lost playoffs in consecutive years (2010-11) at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. Karlsson made 11 cuts in 17 starts in 2012 and finished No. 160 on the money list.

• San Diego's Kris Blanks put together six birdies in a seven-hole stretch and went on to shoot a 7-under 65 at the Stadium Course to share second place. Blanks made just 11 cuts in 23 starts on the PGA TOUR in 2012 and had only one top-25 finish -- T11 at the Valero Texas Open. He ended the season No. 161 on the money list.

• A total of 110 players in the starting field of 172 posted sub-par scores. Last year, 106 of 173 players were under-par after the first round.

• A total of 134 players in the starting field of 172 posted par-or-better scores. Last year, 125 of 173 players were at par-or-better after the first round.

• The Coachella Valley has hosted the PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament several times over the years. This is the sixth time that the current two-course rotation of the Nicklaus Tournament Course and TPC Stadium Course has been used.

2011Brendon Todd-17 (415)Stephen Ganglugg-16 (416)
2008Harrison Frazar-32 (400)Derek Fathauer, James Nitties-24 (308)
2006George McNeill-23 (409)Robert Garrigus-18 (414)
2004Brian Davis-17 (415)Rob Rashell-16 (416)
2002Jeff Brehaut-16 (416)Chris Anderson, Alex Cejka, James H. McLean-15 (417)

• The Qualifying Tournament was also in the area several previous years, using different course rotations.

2002Nicklaus Private, Nicklaus TournamentSteve Allan-32 (400)David Morland IV
    Brian Wilson
1998Weiskopf at PGA West, Dunes @ LaQuintaMike Weir-24 (408)Jonathan Kaye
    Deane Pappas
1993PGA West (Nicklaus), LaQuinta G&TR (Dunes)Ty Armstrong-17 (415)Robin Freeman
    Dave Stockton, Jr.

• In earlier years only one course was used for the Qualifying Tournament (records are incomplete):

1986Steve JonesSteve Elkington
1987John HustonJim Hallett
1988Robin FreemanBrad Bryant

• Leaders at previous Qualifying Tournaments held at PGA West -- Nicklaus Tournament (NT)/TPC Stadium (SC):

YearFirst-Round Leader(s)Eventual Medalist
200266 -- Aaron Barber, Stephen GangluffJeff Brehaut (16-under par, 416)
200466 -- Scott Gump (NT)Brian Davis (17-under par, 415)
200667 -- Scott Gutschewski (NT)George McNeill (23-under par, 409)
200865 -- Craig Kanada (NT), Joey Lamielle (NT), Major Manning (NT)Harrison Frazar (32-under par, 400)
201164 -- Will Claxton (NT), Daniel Summerhays (NT)Brendon Todd (17-under par, 415)

• Scores needed to secure PGA TOUR status at PGA West in previous years:

2002(top 35 and ties)38 cards8-under 424
2004(top 30 and ties)35 cards7-under 425
2006(top 30 and ties)40 cards8-under 424
2008(top 25 and ties)28 cards19-under 413
2011(top 25 and ties)29 cards8-under 424

• There are seven 2012 Tour graduates in the field hoping to improve their eligibility standings for the 2013 season. All seven have earned PGA TOUR cards for next year. These players will not count toward the top 25 and ties who will earn their PGA TOUR card through Q-School, or against the next number nearest 50 to determine fully-exempt Nationwide Tour membership.

16. Lee Williams67T9
18. Brad Fritsch72T111
19. Morgan Hoffmann67T9
20. Brian Stuard73T135
21. Andrew Svoboda70T50
22. Nicholas Thompson69T35
25. Jim Hermann68T22

• Last year, there were five Tour graduates who entered the Qualifying Tournament in hopes of improving their eligibility status for the 2012 season. Two of the five were successful --

19.Daniel Chopra70 (NT)T61
22.Mark Anderson66 (NT)T7
23.Roberto Castro71 (SC)T87
24.Martin Flores69 (SC)T43
25.Billy Hurley III65 (SC)T3

• The seven Tour players attempting to improve their status for next year is not unprecedented. Most recently several players have successfully improved their status at this event:

2011Roberto Castro#23 Tour money listT13 at Q-school
2010Michael Putnam#24 Tour money listT6 at Q-school
2010Justin Hicks#25 Tour money listT22 at Q-school
2006John Merrick#21 Tour money listT4 at Q-school

• Scott Verplank (1997), Frank Lickliter (2007) and Troy Merritt (2009) are the only players since 1992 to hold/share the lead after each round of the tournament. Verplank is the only player to hold the lead outright for all six rounds.

• The scoring averages for the two courses (both are par-72) --

Nicklaus Tournament (host) TPC Stadium

R1 70.506 71.023

• The toughest holes on the two courses: Nicklaus Tournament No. 8 3.294 Stadium Course No. 13 3.345

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