WEST PALM BEACH Fla. (AP) — J.P. Hayes shot a 9-under 63 on Friday to grab the lead in the PGA Tour qualifying tournament before thunderstorms forced the suspension of third-round play.
Hayes’ bogey-free round on the Links Course at Bear Lakes Country Club left him at 12-under 204, a stroke ahead of Graham Delaet (64) and Brenden Pappas (65). Troy Merritt, the leader after each of the first two days, was 12 under with two holes left.
The top 25 finishers and ties after the six-round tournament will earn cards for 2010, with roughly 50 more earning fully exempt status for the Nationwide Tour.
The 44-year-old Hayes earned notoriety last year for disqualifying himself at Q-school when he discovered he inadvertently used a ball that had not yet been approved for tournament play.