The first round lead at the Wyndham Championship was shared by Americans Tommy Gainey and Jeff Quinney Thursday as they carded seven-under 63s while the others scampered to qualify for the playoffs at the FedExCup.
The lead was solitarily held by Quinney, who is on a bid for his first PGA Tour victory, for most of the day after he got five consecutive birdies at the Sedgefield Country Club. However, Gainey joined him later in the day after he signed off on the par-five fifth with five birdies and an eagle.
Behind Quinney and Gainey is Australian Stuart Appleby who is lurking one shot back after an error-free afternoon.
“I’m in a position right now where I’ve only played 11 events this year and haven’t had a great go of it,” Quinney told reporters. “The only chance I get in the playoffs is probably winning this week… just push all your chips in and this is what I got.”
The event is the last in the regular season of the PGA Tour and as expected, many of the bigger names in golf battled for a place in the lucrative finale to end the season. After this week, only the top 125 players will qualify for the first of the four FedExCup playoffs.
The Barclays Classic in August 25-28 is being eyed by former world number one South African Ernie Els, Briton Paul Casey as well as major winners Argentine Angel Cabrera and Irish Padraig Harrington.
Els and Casey carded five-under 65s which got their bids off to a positive start. They join American Jim Furyk and Fijian Vijay Singh and several others sitting two off the pace.
Cabrera mixed four bogeys with an eagle and five birdies to end a rollercoaster afternoon for a three-under 67. The chances of qualifying dimmed for Harrington as he got a 69.
“You think about it (FedExCup playoffs),” admitted Els. “It’s one of the reasons why I’m here, you want to get in.
“My playoffs have started this week because if I don’t play well this week I’m not advancing.”
A solid 66 with five birdies and a bogey was carded by American Jason Dufner, who led at the PGA Championship with an early five-shot before he squandered it losing to Keegan Bradley.