New Zealand could still see two golfers on next year's PGA Tour after Danny Lee and Tim Wilkinson continued their remarkable comeback at the final stage of qualifying today.
New Zealand No 1 Lee and Manawatu professional Wilkinson are firmly in contention ahead of tomorrow's final day after turning around disastrous starts at the six-round event in La Quinta, California.
Both Lee and Wilkinson sit one shot short of the qualifying mark, and successful final rounds would see two Kiwi golfers on the United States' top tour for the first time in five years.
With 172 players competing for only 25 places on next year's PGA Tour, the odds were always stacked against the pair. And those odds lengthened dramatically after the opening two rounds saw both players sit well outside the top 100.
But Lee, who had opened with rounds of 72 and 75, has played the following three rounds in 17 under par to turn around his week, and potentially his career, in outstanding fashion.
The 21-year-old, who played on the PGA Tour this year but failed to retain his card, shot a bogey-free five under par 67 at the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course today to climb to a share of 30th place. He made the turn in two under par before coming home in three under to climb to within touching distance of the qualifying cut-off.
Wilkinson's comeback has been almost as good, shooting rounds of 69, 68 and 65 to get back 14 shots in three days. The former PGA Tour professional, who began the fifth round in a share of 69th place, shot a superb seven under par 65 today to join his compatriot on a 14 under total.
He made four birdies and an eagle in a fifth round score that left him with a chance of returning to the game's most lucrative tour, where he previously played from 2008-2009.