2012 PGA TOUR Q school: Patrick Cantlay, Robert Karlsson among big names at PGA West

Sam Greenwood

172 players tee it up in a 108-hole march at PGA West for the Tour's final stage of Q-school.

The final stage of the PGA Tour's 2012 Q-school is set, and there will be plenty of big names attempting to earn their card at PGA West in California. After two rounds of qualifying stages, 172 players will compete for a marathon 108-hole final qualifying week on two courses -- TPC Stadium and Nicklaus. This is the last time the Tour will host Q-school in its current incarnation -- a controversial change made by Tim Finchem and the powers that be. The top 25 finishers (including ties) will automatically earn exempt status on the 2013 PGA Tour.

The 172-player field is a mix of familiar veterans and younger talents who have yet to break through in earliest stages of their career. Patrick Cantlay is one of those young superstars, who almost certainly has bright days ahead on Tour. Cantlay burst onto the scene as an amateur, earning low-am marks at the U.S. Open at Congressional and firing a course-record 60 in Hartford just one week later. He turned pro after the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic, and had an up-and-down finish to his first season on Tour.

Some of the veterans in the mix at La Quinta include Ross Fisher, Robert Karlsson and Camilo Villegas. Fisher and Karlsson were among the most decorated European players of the past several seasons, but injuries and inconsistent play have forced them to earn their 2013 cards via Q-school. For Fisher, it has been quite a rocky tumble as he was one of the most reliable and consistent English players in the world, considered among the elite group of Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter.

Fisher is a former Ryder Cupper with multiple wins and plenty of cash earned, much like Karlsson. The lanky Swede has 11 career Euro Tour wins, and made the cut at both The Masters and U.S. Open last year. He was one of the top players in the world before an eye injury in 2009 threw his career off track, and he's been inconsistent ever since. He are some other former winners and big names to keep an eye on at the always tense Q-school:

  • Arjun Atwal
  • Ross Fisher
  • Joseph Bramlett
  • Patrick Cantlay
  • Alex Cejka
  • Daniel Chopra
  • Erik Compton
  • Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
  • Steve Flesch
  • Marcus Fraser
  • Billy Hurley
  • Robert Karlsson
  • Kelly Kraft
  • Derek Lamely
  • Shaun Micheel
  • Tom Pernice
  • Chez Reavie
  • Heath Slocum
  • D.J. Trahan
  • Camilo Villegas
  • Vaughn Taylor

The final stage of Q-school will run from Nov. 28 to Dec. 3 at PGA West.

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