(Lompoc, Calif.) – Antibes, France’s Julien Brun managed a 2-under 70 on Thursday at La Purisima Golf Course to take the lead through three rounds at PGA TOUR Canada’s California Qualifying Tournament.
The three-time NCAA first team All-American, who is playing as an amateur and will complete his collegiate career with the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs following Q-School this week, led by one over Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Sam Saunders, who is also competing as an amateur, along with Danville, California’s Jeff Hamm and League City, Texas native Curtis Donahoe.
“It was very solid. I didn’t put myself in many bad situations. I didn’t have to save many pars from all over the place, and it was really a stress-free round,” said Brun, who owns nine career NCAA victories along with a Challenge Tour win in 2012. “I was able to put myself in the fairway many times and gave myself a lot of opportunities despite the wind. It was a very good round.”
This week marks a stretch of important events coming up for Brun, who will join his teammates at the Big 12 conference championships immediately after Q-School, with NCAA Regional and National Championships in the following weeks. Still, Brun said his focus remains on earning status on PGA TOUR Canada for when he begins his professional career later this spring.
“I’m just taking it one day and one hole at a time. It’s a tough course and a good field, so I can’t take it easy out there. I need to play my best,” said Brun.
Donahoe posted his second sub-par round of the week to reach 4-under with Hamm and Saunders, whose brother Steve is a Web.com Tour member and PGA TOUR Canada alumnus, while 36-hole leader David Mills shared fifth spot with Nathan Tarter at 3-under.
NUMBERS YOU NEED TO KNOW
1: The number of players who shot in the 60s on Thursday. Michael Schoolcraft carded a 4-under 68.
48: The number of spots Fredrik Svanberg moved up the leaderboard with a 2-under 70 in the morning. Svanberg moved from a tie for 107th into a tie for 59th, the biggest move up the leaderboard on Thursday.
1: The number of bogey-free rounds on Thursday. Jae Yong Kim fired a 2-under 70 in the morning and moved up 45 spots into a tie for 66th.
The medalist this week will earn exempt status on PGA TOUR Canada for 2015. Finishers 2-18 will be exempt through the first six events and subject to the re-shuffle, with the rest of the top 40 (plus ties) earning conditional status. The cutoff for the top 18 through the first round was at 3-over, with the cutoff for the top 40 at 7-over.
“It was playing tough, even if you hit some good shots you had to deal with the wind and make some tricky putts. It’s a heck of a golf round, that’s for sure.” – Jeff Hamm on Michael Schoolcraft’s round of 68.
“He always really liked playing up in Canada. I’ve talked to him a few times. He wished me luck and told me to stay patient.” – Sam Saunders on advice from brother Steve, a PGA TOUR Canada alumnus, on attempting to earn status.
“It’s hard. You just have to know it’s hard to make birdies and nobody’s going to shoot 65 and run away with it, so if you make a mistake, make your bogey and keep going.” – Curtis Donahoe on the nature of trying to stay patient at Q-School.
Weather: 13 degrees Celsius. Cloudy. Winds 20 km/h.
Richmond Hill, Ontario’s Taylor Pendrith was the low Canadian through 54 holes in a tie for eighth following a 4-under 76.
Round four tee times will begin at 7:00 a.m.
Brun and Saunders are looking to follow in the footsteps of 2014 The Five member Greg Eason, who earned his PGA TOUR Canada status as an amateur, then completed his collegiate career before turning professional.
Third Round Leaderboard
Julien Brun (a) – 70 (-5)
Sam Saunders (a) – 71 (-4)
Curtis Donahoe – 70 (-4)
Jeff Hamm – 72 (-4)
Nathan Tarter – 72 (-3)
David Mills – 74 (-3)