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Three players at 9-under take two-shot advantage

Kyle Karazissis Kyle Karazissis - PGA Tour Canada on Twitter

SAN JACINTO, California—Kyle Karazissis, Jordan Costello and Tyler Falk have each opened the PGA TOUR Canada Qualifying Tournament at Soboba Springs Golf Course with two rounds in the 60s, and they will take the lead into the final 36 holes. At 9-under, they are two shots ahead of Gunn Yang, Ryann Ree and Perry Cohen. Jonathan Walters is alone in seventh but only three behind. Cooler weather is expected to hit Southern California on Thursday after players enjoyed ideal conditions for the first two rounds.

Of the trio of leaders, Karazissis and Falk have never held any PGA TOUR-affiliated Tour status, while Costello is a current PGA TOUR Latinoamerica member. Karazissis was the first to post 9-under despite enduring a slow start to his day. His malaise lasted through his 12th hole. He was 1-over for the day, a disappointment considering he shot a 6-under 66 Tuesday afternoon and then teed off early Wednesday taking momentum with him.

“They were pretty opposite rounds, really. [Tuesday] felt extremely stress-free. I was hitting it really well with the exception of one hole. I didn’t have a par putt that I really needed to mark, just a couple of four-footers,” explained Karazissis of what he felt was a walk in the park in his opening 18. “Today, I was hitting it very poorly on the front nine but was able to find something on the back, and a couple of putts were fortunately able to go in.” Those “couple” actually came on four of his last six holes.

On his 13th, No. 4 at Soboba Springs, Karazissis hit his pitching-wedge tee shot on the par-3 to 18 inches. On the succeeding par-5, he chipped to 10 feet from a greenside bunker and made that putt. He followed that with a two-putt birdie on the next hole, also a par-5. “I was able to take advantage of that stretch today. To make a couple of birdies in a row there can get you rolling,” he continued.

Costello has matched Karazissis’ 66-69 start, all three of his bogeys coming on his opening nine, with five of his six birdies on his back nine.

Falk said he made some equipment changes, and he says he’s beginning to trust the clubs he’s holding in his hands. “I’m starting to blend things together based on changes made earlier this year,” said Falk, who is the head men’s and women’s golf coach at Bushnell University in Eugene, Oregon. Falk was bogey-free in the second round, with five birdies.

“I just settled in and started to roll some putts in that gave me some confidence going forward,” he said.

Twelve players are tied for ninth, at 4-under.