Pinckney claims 1-shot lead at Q School

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La Quinta, CA ( - Scott Pinckney fired a 7-under 65 on Sunday and jumped one stroke clear of the field after four rounds of the Tour Qualifying Tournament.

Pinckney played seven events in 2013 and made one cut. He finished 72 holes at 21-under-par 267.

Jimmy Gunn posted a 6-under 66 and is alone in second place at minus-20. Third-round leader Steve Saunders led nearly the entire round, but dropped three strokes in the final two holes to fall into third place. He shot 2-under 70 and ended four rounds at 19-under-par 269.

Andy Pope also shot 66 and stands alone in fourth at minus-17. Max Homa (69) and Tony Finau (68) are tied for fifth at 16-under 272.

Amateur Michael Kim (70), Carlos Ortiz (67), Bronson Burgoon (66) and Zack Fischer (65) share seventh at minus-15.

Twenty of the top 22 players on the leaderboard played the Jack Nicklaus Course at PGA West on Sunday, while the other two played the TPC Stadium Course.

Pinckney was three back to start the round, but that spread became five after he bogeyed the second and Saunders birdied the par-5 fourth. Pinckney got one back as he birdied the fifth, then the duo matched birdies on No. 7.

Saunders pushed his advantage over Pinckney to seven as he followed his birdie at seven with birdies at eight, nine and 10. Pinckney responded with four consecutive birdies of his own from the 11th, while Saunders tripped to a bogey at the 12th.

That left Saunders two clear with four to play. He birdied the 15th, but Pinckney responded with a birdie on 16. Pinckney made it two in a row as he birdied the 17th, while Saunders stumbled to a bogey there to create a tie at 21-under.

Saunders stumbled to a double-bogey at the last to fall two back as Pinckney parred the last.

Gunn, who played with Saunders and Pinckney, birdied the second and fourth to move to 16-under. After he made eagle on No. 7, Gunn tripped to a bogey on the eighth. He bounced back with three consecutive birdies from the ninth to get to minus-20. Gunn ran off seven straight pars to cap his round

"They lit up the front nine and kept making birdie after birdie. I was 1-under after nine and I felt like I was 3-over watching those guys. I knew I was playing well and just tried to stay patient," Pinckney stated. "You're going to hit good putts and they're not all going to go in, but it was my turn on the back nine."

NOTES: Pinckney has two PGA Tour starts, and they were both in majors as he qualified for the 2011 U.S. Open and the 2012 British Open Championships. He missed the cut at both events ... There is no cut in the 6-round marathon ... The medalist this week earns fully exempt status on the Tour, while those who finish from second through 10th and ties are exempted through the first two reshuffles. Those finishing 11th through 45th are exempt through the first reshuffle ... Trevor Fisher, Jr. withdrew prior to the fourth round, while Hugo Leon withdrew after the round.