Welshman Phillip Price, who shocked Phil Mickelson in singles at the 2002 Ryder Cup, carded a 5-under 67 and is tied for second place with D.J. Trahan, 2002 Disney World winner Bob Burns, and Keoke Cotner, who aced the 13th with a 4-iron on Wednesday,
These 170 players are battling in this 108-hole event for top-30 honors, which would earn them PGA Tour cards for 2005. Players who finish out of the top-30, but in the top-80, will receive full exempt 2005 Nationwide Tour status, while the remaining players are non-exempt members on the 2005 Nationwide Tour.
Play is spread over both the Stadium Course at PGA West and the Nicklaus Tournament Course throughout the six rounds. Neither course had much action Wednesday morning as frost delayed the start of the first round by an hour.
Gump started with a bogey at the first but rebounded with three consecutive birdies from the third hole. He eagled the par-5 seventh, then closed his front nine with a birdie at the ninth.
Gump, a three-time winner on the Nationwide Tour, including this year's Boise Open, parred his first three holes on the second nine. He tallied back-to-back birdies from the 13th to reach 7-under par for the tournament.
The 38-year-old from Florida bogeyed his closing hole to take a one-shot lead into the second round.
'You just want to get in a good rhythm,' said Gump, who finished fourth in Q- School in 1990. 'Playing 108 holes, you know everybody is going to make some bogeys. Each shot is the same weight. Every single shot counts the same. I do the same old routine (every year). Just put one foot in front of the other.'
Dean Wilson, Charlie Wi, Rob Rashell, Omar Uresti, Aaron Barber, Brian Kortan, Mark Wurtz, Alex Aragon, Scott Weatherly, Hiroyuki Fujita, Ken Green, Tim O'Neil and 2001 U.S. Amateur champion Bubba Dickerson are knotted in sixth place at 4-under-par 68.
Scott Simpson, the only former major winner in the field, shot a 1-under 71 on Wednesday and is part of a large group tied for 51st place.
Some players did not fare as well as Gump and Simpson. Jeff Quinney, the 2000 U.S. Amateur champion, struggled to a 1-over 73 and is tied with two-time Ryder Cupper Per-Ulrik Johansson, 1998 British Open runner-up Brian Watts, former PGA Tour player Doug Barron and European Tour player Soren Kjeldsen.