Two laps down, four to go: Phillip Mollica moves into top 15 at Q School final

Anderson, S.C. native shot second straight 68, trails leader Meen Whee Kim by five shots

Phillip Mollica is one of eight former Clemson golfers playing in first-stage Q-School tournaments this week.

Photo by Kerry Capps

Phillip Mollica is one of eight former Clemson golfers playing in first-stage Q-School tournaments this week.

Two laps down, four to go.

Phillip Mollica moved a step closer to earning his 2013 PGA Tour card on Thursday when he shot a four-under par 68 - his second straight - in the Q School's final-stage tournament at PGA West in LaQuinta, Calif.

Mollica, an Anderson, S.C. native and former Clemson star, stands at eight-under for the tournament, is tied for 14th place with 72 holes left to play. He started the day in 20th position. He trails leader Meen Whee Kim, who shot a 63 on Thursday, by five shots.

Mollica started his second round at the Nicklaus Tournament Course on a roll, with birdies at No. 1, 3 and 7. He ran into trouble and took a double-bogey on the par-three eighth, but then bounced back and birdied 10, 11 and 13 to go four-under. He closed his round with five straight pars.

Also moving up on Thursday was Danny Ellis, who climbed from 50th to 39th after shooting a three-under 69. He is now five-under for the tournament.

Tied at even-par for the tournament are former Greenwood (S.C.) High teammates Vince Hatfield (70-74), and Ben Martin (72-72), as well as Brian Duncan (71-73).

Stephen Poole stands at five-over after shooting a 77 on Thursday.

D.J. Trahan played his second round and then withdrew from the tournament. He played his two rounds in four-over, with scores of 75-73.

Trahan was trying to improve his conditional status on the 2013 PGA Tour after finishing 132nd on the 2012 money list - just seven places off automatic requalification. With conditional status, he should gain entry into 20-25 tournaments next season.

The 108-hole Q School final continues through the weekend and wraps up on Monday, Dec. 3.

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