Quinney Fires Course Record To Grab Lead In Scottsdale

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Canadian Tour-LargeJeff Quinney stayed one step in front of a familiar opponent Thursday to take the lead after the opening round of the Canadian Tours Scottsdale Swing at McCormick Ranch.
 
The 2000 U.S. Amateur champion, who was born in Oregon but now calls Scottsdale home, carded a McCormick Ranch course record 9'under 63 and holds a one shot lead over James Driscoll (Brookline, Mass.). It was Driscoll who lost that U.S. Amateur final two years ago to Quinney.
 
Patrick Moore is three shots back of Quinney, while Hank Kuehne, who won the Texas Challenge two weeks ago, and Doug LaBelle are four off the pace. Jim Rutledge of Victoria, B.C. is the top Canadian at 4-under.
 
Being at the top of the leaderboard at a recent Tour event is familiar territory for Quinney. At the Tours season-opening Texas Classic in Houston earlier this month, the 23-year-old led after each of the opening three rounds before eventually finishing second to Floridian Steve Scott.
 
Its funny to see all the amateur guys doing well - Hank is always up there, Steve (runner-up in 1996) and now James, said Quinney. But its still early in the week, and there are too many good players on this Tour. Just look at some of the numbers being put up so far this year.
 
As has been his trademark through the first two events of the year, Quinney was consistent again Thursday. After a 4-under 32 on his front nine, he went on a birdie-birdie-eagle run just after making the turn on his way to a bogey-free round. He was helped along the way with a chip-in for eagle and another for birdie.
 
There is a lot of birdies out there, and youre going to have to take it low to win, he added. This course is in great shape, and give credit to the people who got it this way. You have to pick your spots.
 
Driscoll missed the cut in the season-opening Texas Classic, but bounced back with an eighth-place showing at the Texas Challenge. He had two bogeys Thursday, but made up for it by adding an eagle and eight birdies.
 
I havent had a round like that in a while, so it feels pretty good right now, admitted Driscoll, a teammate of Quinneys on the 2001 U.S. Walker Cup squad. But my swing didnt feel right at all. I guess it was the wrong direction with the swing, but the right direction with the score.
 
After struggling with his putting in the early stages of this year, Moore abandoned his old putter and went to a different model two days ago, choosing the cross-grip over his traditional grip. The move seemed to have paid off Thursday. The 31-year-old, who also holds conditional status on the Buy.Com Tour, drained back-to-back 30-footers on the third and fourth holes and added another from 20 feet on the fifth to set the tone for his day.
 
I didnt shoot for a lot of pins today, I played rather conservatively, he said. But I got off to a good start and made a couple of bombs early. That putter will stay in the bag for a while.
 
Scoring conditions were perfect for most of Thursday, although winds picked up in the afternoon. The day also featured a hole-in-one when Chris Wollmann aced the 203-yard, par-3 fourth.
 
Rutledge, himself an exempt member for the upcoming Buy.Com season, is playing in this event before the Louisiana Open in two weeks.
 
I struggled a little bit on the front, but got it together on the back, Rutledge said of his 35-33 split. Ive been working on a lot of things, and my putting is coming around. Today, the conditions were pretty much ideal, but the weather is going to dictate things. If it gets windy, this will be a totally different course.
 
Full-field scores from the Scottsdale Swing at McCormick Ranch