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Qualifying Tournament USA

Feb 12-15, Sun N Lake Golf Club (Deer Run)

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History and Facts of this Event

With light fading, Jhared Hack finished his opening round 66 to take the lead Photo: AB Photography

American Jhared Hack sets the pace at Sebring

His game plan this week is to "just have fun."

Sebring, FL –(February 12, 2013)— The competitors at PGA TOUR Latinoamérica Q-school know that this tournament is a marathon not a sprint. Much like the drivers of the 12 Hours of Le Mans race that takes place at the nearby Sebring International Raceway however they know they need to get off to a good start.

American Jhared Hack took this theory to heart as he set out to earn his PGA TOUR Latinoamérica card this week at Sun N’ Lake Golf Club in Sebring, Florida. “I came into this week playing well and I didn’t want to have any expectations coming in here, I just wanted to go out and have fun and that’s what I’ve been doing to play well recently” said the 23 year old native of Homestead, FL.

Hack’s opening 66 was the low-round of the day and placed him ahead by one stroke after 18 holes. Hack, who won the 2007 Western Amateur over PGA TOUR players Dustin Johnson and Alex Prugh, thought that a change of scenery might serve his career well, “I look at PGA TOUR Latinoamérica as a chance to get out of my comfort zone, I’ve been playing mini-tour golf for almost five years now on courses that I’m comfortable with and know well and I think this Tour might give me that push to take me to the next level.”

Sweden’s Krister Eriksson is one shot back heading into the second round and his game plan was similar to Hack’s, “I was just trying to have fun out there. This game is way too hard and will drive you crazy so I always try to have fun out there” said Eriksson about his opening round 67.

The 30 year old Eriksson who lives in Port St. Lucie turned professional in 2001 and has played primarily on the Nordic Golf League, a European circuit where he finished  15th on last year’s Order of Merit. Seeking new opportunities to further his career he decided to give PGA TOUR Latinoamérica a try. “Why wouldn’t I want to compete in Latin America, I’m looking forward to the opportunity of traveling there and playing, I’m excited about the adventure.” Asked about his Spanish skills Eriksson had this to say, “I practiced on my game in Spain for a time so let’s see how well that serves me.”

What a difference six months make…Julian Etulain, a member of PGA TOUR Latinoamérica last season says that something clicked last month that has helped him improve his driving. “My tee shots were a major issue last season, for the last six months of last year I couldn’t find a fairway. I practiced hard over the break and drove it real well today, I hit most of my approach shots from the fairway which is an advantage on this golf course.” His best finish last season was a T8 at the Roberto De Vicenzo Invitational-Copa NEC.

Patience is a virtue…Both Tim O’Neal (69) and Philippe Gasnier (70) credited having patience on this golf course for their good starts. “I haven’t played a full 18 holes since last year’s Argentine Open due to some back issues, so it was key for me to remain patient out there today. I was able to do so today and that was the key to my score today” said Gasnier. “I credit today’s round to staying patient, I played steady out there with no bogeys despite not putting well. My game is really close to being great, I just have to keep working on it” said Savannah Georgia’s Tim O’Neal.

A good pedigree…Olin Browne Jr, son of three-time PGA TOUR winner Olin Browne, shot an opening round 69 to put himself two shots back of our leaders. The Pepperdine graduate is looking to make his mark on PGA TOUR Latinoamérica this season after having played on other tours for the past two years since turning professional.

Behind every great golfer…Both Julian Etulain and leader Krister Eriksson are engaged to be married, Etulain in December and Eriksson is narrowing down a date soon.

Scoring…Sun N’ Lakes Deer Run course showed its teeth on Thursday, there were only 18 scores under par.  The front nine scoring average was 37.5 while the back came in at 37.38 for a total of 74.92.

The easiest hole was the par-5 13th and hardest was the par 4 15th.

Final Word: When asked what one would need to know about Norrkoping, Sweden where our leader is from, his answer was: “That I’m from there.”

Three more rounds to go: The second of two qualifiers will hand-out 20 spots for this year’s PGA TOUR Latinoamérica season. There will be no cut and a playoff will decide any ties on Friday. The top 20 players at week’s end will compete in 15 events in nine countries between March and December. As members of the Tour they will compete to be one of “Los Cinco” and earn their Web.com Tour card for 2014.

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