Bud Cauley and Marco Dawson shared the first-round lead on eight-under-par 62 at the US$4 million McGladrey Classic on Thursday, two shots in front of a chasing trio.
Cauley had eight birdies without a bogey. Dawson joined Cauley atop the leaderboard despite having to take drops after two wayward tee shots.
He salvaged a par to limit the damage at the par-five seventh, where his tee shot had found the water.
Boo Weekley, Australian Rod Pampling and England’s Greg Owen were two shots back on 64.
Ryder Cup captain Davis Love was in a group on 65 that included Colombian Camilo Villegas, New Zealand’s Danny Lee, Zach Johnson and David Toms.
The tournament is the penultimate PGA Tour event that counts toward the money list. The top 125 on the list earn full playing privileges for next season and Dawson is at No. 216.
Dawson said he cannot afford even to think about that right now.
“I’m so far away from it that the only thing I can do is just try and play well,” Dawson said. “And when I am playing well, just to keep it going instead of kind of messing it up like I have during the year.”
Weekley said he thinks his game is good enough right now to keep his card in sight.
“It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “I finally started making some putts, and I’ve been hitting the ball good, pretty good the last two weeks, and finally today the putts showed up, so — hoping I carry it on this week.”
Pampling has been on the edge before. Last season he missed the cut at the final event, but still ended up at 125th on the money list.
He says it is a stressful way to end a season.
“It hasn’t been a lot of fun the last few years,” Pampling said. “I’ve been playing good, but I haven’t scored. And it’s all down to the putting. Nothing is going in.”
Cauley, 22, has no such worries, having reached No. 55 in the world and made more than US$1.7 million this season.
Now he is seeking a first tour win.