LA QUINTA, Calif. -- South Korea's Meen Whee Kim shot a 5-under 67 on Friday on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course to maintain a one-stroke lead after the third round of the PGA Tour qualifying tournament.
The 20-year-old Kim had an 18-under 131 total in the six-round event. The final top 25 and ties will receive 2013 PGA Tour cards and the next 50 and ties will earn Web.com Tour cards.
Sweden's Robert Karlsson was second after a 65 brought him to within a shot of Kim. The 11-time European Tour winner also played the Nicklaus Tournament Course.
Camilo Villegas, a three-time winner on the tour, had a 66 on the Nicklaus Course to jump from a tie for 23rd to a tie for ninth at 13 under. Ross Fisher also was 13 under after a 65 on the Nicklaus Course.
Two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton was tied for 17th at 11 under after a 68 on the Nicklaus Course.
Former UCLA star Patrick Cantlay was tied for 108th at 2 under after a 71 on the Stadium Course. Kevin Tway also was 2 under after a 69 on the Stadium Course.
Karlsson chalked up nine birdies en route to his 65. He struggled on the PGA Tour in 2012, making only 11 cuts in 17 starts and finished No. 160 on the final money list. His best finish was a tie for 17th at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Kim defeated Kevin Na earlier this year in a playoff at the Shinhan Donghae Open on the Korean Golf Tour. Paul Casey and Charlie Wi tied for third in that event. Kim was born on Feb. 22, 1992, and will be 20 years, 9 months, and 12 days on Monday. Currently a sophomore at Yonsei University, he turned professional in 2010 after winning gold in the Asian Games.
Edward Loar, who earned his PGA Tour card at this event last year, fired a 6-under 66 on the Stadium Course and is alone in third place, two back of leader Kim. Loar struggled on Tour in 2012 and made only seven cuts in 23 starts. His best finish was a tie for 25th at the Puerto Rico Open and he wound up No. 210 on the money list. He also played on the Web.com Tour, where he made five cuts in nine starts. He picked up a win early in the year at the Panama Claro Championship and he went on to finish No. 36 on that Tour’s money list, which earned him a berth in the Q-school Finals this week.
The best rounds of the day were 65s turned in by Karlsson, Matt Jones, Kyle Reifers, Ryan Sullivan and Andrew Svoboda.
Sullivan’s 65 didn’t make up much ground on the leaders. He opened with scores of 76-79 and was tied for last place after the first 36 holes. His efforts in Round 3 got him closer to par (4-over 220), but he is tied for 155th heading into the fourth round.
Si Woo Kim, a 17-year-old high school student from South Korea, birdied his final hole for a 1-under 71 on the Nicklaus Course. His scored dropped him from a tie for 13th to a tie for 31st. He is the youngest player in the field this week, and will be 17 years, 5 months and 6 days on Monday.
Ty Tryon is believed to be the youngest player to advance to the PGA Tour through the Q-School. He was 17 years, 6 months, 1 day in 2001, when he tied for 23rd to earn a spot on the PGA Tour in 2002.
Kim doesn’t turn 18 until June 28, 2013, and cannot become a PGA Tour member until that time. He could play no more than 12 PGA Tour events as a non-member on sponsor exemptions, foreign exemptions or to-10 finishes prior to that date.
The oldest player in the field is Tom Pernice who will be 53 years, 2 months and 28 days on Monday. He has posted scores of 71-71-70--212 and is tied for 84th. He made a total of 33 starts in 2012 -- 23 on the PGA Tour (making eight cuts) and 10 on the Champions Tour.
Vaughn Taylor finished his day eagle-birdie-bogey for a 3-under 69 on the Nicklaus Course, and is tied for fourth at 15-under 201. He tied for fifth here a year ago to regain his PGA Tour card for the 2012 season.