Staring at the possibility of a two-year road back to the PGA Tour, Daniel Chopra picked the right time to heat things up.
The Isleworth pro birdied his final three holes to finish off a 6-under-par 66 at Southern Hills Plantation, booking passage to next month’s qualifying finals in California with two shots to spare.
Windermere’s Arjun Atwal, Oveido’s Patrick Sheehan and Heathrow’s Danny Ellis also were among 21 players who advanced from the second-stage test in Brooksville. None, though, faced as difficult a path as Chopra.
The Sweden native began the final day two shots outside the line, ran off six birdies in an eight-hole span to move to the cutoff brink but then bogeyed No.14. Chopra rebounded with a birdie at the par-5 16th, then birdied the final two to finish the job.
Chopra notched two PGA Tour wins in a three-month span in 2007-08, but has missed 35 of 51 cuts since the start of the 2010 season.
European Tour veteran Robert Karlsson took medalist honors, completing four rounds in 18-under-par 270. Billy Hurley, who made the PGA Tour last year after a five-year Navy stint, and Jupiter’s Derek Fathauer were two shots back.
Two-time U.S. Open winner Lee Janzen, former U.S. Amateur champ Bubba Dickerson and PGA Tour veterans Robert Damron (Orlando), Marco Dawson (Lakeland) and Frank Lickliter (Ponte Vedra Beach) were among those who didn’t survive. Nor did Orlando’s Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer’s grandson who finished 50th on this year’s Web.com Tour money list.Jeff Shain covers golf for the Orlando Sentinel and Tribune Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter at @JeffShain, or reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.