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Former COD golfer tied for lead

The Desert Sun, Oct. 17, 2012
By Larry Bohannan
PALM DESERT — Andrew Perez rolled in seven birdies on his way to a 6-under 66 on Tuesday and a share of the first-round lead in a PGA Tour first stage qualifying tournament at Classic Club.
 
Perez, who played community college golf at College of the Desert, is tied with David Bradshaw of Harpers Ferry, W.Va. and Brad Hopfinger of Lake Forest, Ill., after the first day of the four-day tournament. Seventy-five players teed off Tuesday, with the top 18 players and ties after Friday’s round advancing to second-stage play, which for most players will be in Murrieta. “I feel like I have been playing well coming here,” Perez said after Tuesday’s round. “I felt like I was ready for this round.”
 
Perez has been in the first stage of qualifying each of the last two years, failing to reach the second stage each time.
 
Perez, Bradshaw and Hopfinger are one shot ahead of John Hurley of O’Neill, Neb. and Eric Meierdierks of Wilmette, Ill. Three players are tied at 68, followed by nine golfers, including Jesse Schutte of La Quinta, at 69. In all 34 of the 75 players broke par-72. The Desert Sun article can be found here:   http://www.mydesert.com/article/20121017/SPORTS05/310170038/Golfers-begin-run-PGA.
 
 Mens-Golf-Andrew-Perez-May-2011.jpg
Andrew Perez, 2011 COD Men's Golf Team,
Medalist for State Championship, Low Individual Score
 
The Desert Sun, Oct. 17, 2012
By Larry Bohannan

PGA TOUR QUALIFYING » CLASSIC CLUB HOSTS FIRST STAGE

Golfers begin run for PGA

PALM DESERT—Andrew Perez says he’s not too concerned that just the top 18 players and ties will advance from a PGA Tour first-stage qualifying tournament at Classic Club this week.
 
“To be honest, I’m only worried about the top one,” said Perez, a former star at College of the Desert and at just 22 years old already making his third try at earning a PGA Tour exemption.
 
For Perez, from Oxnard but a state community college champion from his days at COD, and Jesse Schutte of La Quinta, this week’s first-stage qualifying tournament at Classic Club is almost like a home game. They are
among the 75 golfers in the field this week at one of 14 first-stage qualifying events to be played in the next two weeks.
 
“It’s just nice having this first stage in my backyard, just 15 minutes away,” said Schutte, who moved to the desert after his days at Oregon State University. “It’s nice. I’m just trying to relax.”
 
“It feels like home,” said Perez, who played many of his home matches for COD at Classic Club. “It feels a little like I never left.”
 
Both Schutte and Perez are veterans of the qualifying process, or Q-school, but they have had different levels of success. Perez is looking to go deep in the process after falling out in the first stage last year when he said he was ill.
 
Schutte is looking to make a return trip to the finals at PGA West, where last December he earned conditional
status on theWeb.com Tour. Schutte played just oneWeb.com event this year, spending much of the rest of his
year on mini-tours like the National Professional Golf Tour. But having been to the finals last year is a big help this year, he said.
 
“I feel really comfortable here. I feel like last year really paid dividends this year,” the 24-year-old Schutte said.
“I’m very comfortable this year, whereas last year I was really kind of nervous, not knowing what to expect.”
 
Still, Schutte and Perez know the process is a long one. If they get through the first stage, they still have
to survive a second-stage qualifier next month before reaching the finals at PGA West in La Quinta. In the finals only the top 25 players out of approximately 170 golfers earn PGA Tour  cards. The rest will be either fully or conditionally exempt for the Web.com Tour in 2013.
 
“I really don’t plan on seeing a single Web. com event next year,” a confident Perez said. “I want to be on the big tour. That’s my focus.”
 
Perez also said he wasn’t too concerned about the changes that will be coming to the qualifying process after
this year.
 
While golfers this year are playing for a berth on the 2013 PGA Tour, the same process next year will yield only
an exemption to the 2014 Web.com Tour. Berths to the PGA Tour in 2014 will be determined by a four-event series of tournaments featuring the top 75 players from the 2013Web.com money list and players ranked 126th to 200th on the 2013 PGA Tour money list.
 
Schutte said he can’t be too worried about the changes coming a year from now, even if he falls short of the PGA Tour this year.
 
“My goal when I started playing golf was to make it to the PGA Tour,” Schutte said. “There are some guys who
might feel a little extra pressure. But I’m still so young. I feel like I’m just trying to get out there and get as much
experience as I can at this young age. “I don’t feel like it is any different than last year,” Schutte added. “Maybe at the final stage it might feel a little different.” The Desert Sun article can be found here: http://www.mydesert.com/article/20121017/SPORTS05/310170038/Golfers-begin-run-PGA.