New Zealand No 1 Danny Lee could hardly have wished for a
better start to the second stage of qualifying for next
year's PGA Tour.
The 22-year-old carded a seven under par 65 at the Bear Creek
Golf Club in California today to earn a one shot lead from
American Corey Prugh after round one.
Lee, who finished 159th on this year's order of merit and
lost his PGA Tour card, was consistently good in the opening
He made the turn in five under par after making birdie on
five of the final seven holes of the front nine. He added
another birdie on the 13th before the highlight of his round
the next hole - an eagle two to jump to eight under par
through 14 holes.
The stretch of golf has Lee in a great position to advance to
the final stage of qualifying, but fellow Kiwi Steve Alker's
start was less promising.
Alker shot a three over par 75 to be in a share of 56th place
as he looks to turn around a disappointing year on the
second-tier web.com Tour.
Lee and Alker need to finish inside the top 19 players and
ties to advance to the final stage.
Meanwhile, at another qualifying event in Florida, Manawatu
professional Tim Wilkinson also made a fine start in his
attempt to return to the PGA Tour.
Wilkinson carded a four under par 67 to be in a share of
ninth place after round one at the Hombre Golf Club in Panama
City, only four shots back from Argentine Fabian Gomez.
Wilkinson, who finished 57th on the web.com Tour order of
merit, came home strong on the back nine with four birdies in
the final eight holes to get right into contention.
Like the Kiwis in California, Wilkinson needs to finish in
the top 19 and ties to advance to the final stage.
In Texas, Tauranga professional Josh Geary is another still
right in the mix to advance to the final stage.
The 28-year-old, who carded a two under par to sit in a share
of 24th place after round one of his qualifying event, backed
that up with another 70 to be tied 27th at the halfway stage.
Geary, who has played only five events on the web.com Tour in
2012, is currently one shot off the qualifying number. He
needs to finish inside the top 20 players and ties to safely
progress to the final stage.