LeBrun leads PGA Tour Q-School by one stroke after first of six rounds

Steve LeBrun
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Steve LeBrun birdied four of his final five holes at PGA Tour Q-School on Wednesday to grab the first-round lead.

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 | 8:10 p.m.

LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Steve LeBrun shot an 8-under 64 on Wednesday on PGA West's Stadium Course to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour qualifying tournament.

Edward Loar, Alexandre Rocha, Jin Park and Kris Blanks were a stroke back. They also opened the six-round event on the Stadium Course.

PGA TOUR Q-SCHOOL

The field of 174-player field will play six rounds, and the top 25 finishers plus ties at the end of 108 holes will earn their 2013 PGA Tour cards.

Sweden's Robert Karlsson, an 11-time winner on the European Tour, shot a 66 on the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course. Two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton had a 67 on the Stadium Course.

The top 25 and ties will receive 2013 PGA Tour cards and the next 50 and ties will earn Web.com Tour cards.

LeBrun birdied four of his final five holes, and birdied six par 4s during his round. He is making his fourth appearance in Q-School, and has failed to earn his PGA Tour card in his three previous starts (2003, 08, 11). He made the cut in 14 of 21 starts on the Web.com Tour in 2012, with four top-10 finishes, and wound up No. 56 on the money list.

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 (Nos. 4-7) before closing with a bogey at No. 9. Loar is making his fourth appearance in Q-Scool, finishing tied for 58th in 2006, tied for 109th in 2010 and tied for 18th a year ago. Last year, Loar opened with a 5-under 67 at the Nicklaus Tournament Course and was tied for 10th after the first round. He later added a 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. He also earned his first career win on the Web.com Tour when he won the second event of the season, the Panama Claro Championship.

Rocha closed his round on the front side with consecutive birdies for his 65. Rocha is making his third straight appearance, and 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.

Blanks put together six birdies in a seven-hole stretch and went on to shoot a 65. He made just 11 cuts in 23 starts on the PGA Tour in 2012 and had only one top-25 finish – a tie for 11th at the Valero Texas Open. He ended the season No. 161 on the money list.

Karlsson also played bogey-free in the first round, shooting his 66 at the Nicklaus Tournament Course. This is only Karlsson’s second appearance -- 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 FedExSt. Jude Classic. Karlsson made 11 cuts in 17 starts in 2012 and finished No. 160 on the money list. 

Adam Crawford of Queensland, Australia, fired a bogey-free 66 on the Stadium Course in his first Q-School appearance. 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.

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.