Rookies Lead Candian Tour in Mexico

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Canadian Tour-LargeMORELIA, Mexico -- Rookies Michael Walton and John Humphries both opened with a 5-under 67 Wednesday to set the early pace during the suspended first round of the Canadian Tours Michelin Morelia Classic.
 
Only the morning wave of players were able to complete their rounds before lightning halted play at 6:55 p.m. CT. All groups from the afternoon side of the draw will be back in position at 7:45 a.m. Thursday.
 
Chris Baryla of Vernon, BC was in the clubhouse just one shot back of the leaders. Ottawa native Lee Curry, Dean Kennedy of Vancouver, Russell Surber and Ryan Miller had an opening-day 69.
 
Derek Gillespie, Stuart Anderson, Chris Parra and Marcus Jones were all at 3-under through nine holes.
 
Walton, a former Nationwide Tour regular and a member of Pepperdine Universitys 1997 NCAA championship squad, was in the lead group off the tenth tee, undoubtedly the tougher of the two sides at Tres Marias Residential Golf Club. With nearly ideal scoring conditions, Walton managed a 1-under on his opening nine before taking it low over his final nine holes.
 
I think I was lucky this morning, said Walton. Those had to be the easiest conditions possible. It was perfect for scoring.
 
After turning for home, Walton birdied holes one and five to get three shots in the red. On the par-5 eighth, he knocked his second shot from 172 yards to within a foot, setting up a tap-in eagle.
 
You can really put up some big numbers on that back nine so, to be honest, I just wanted to make the turn at even par, he added. The front nine is a little more straightforward, and I was able to take advantage of some good shots.
 
Im happy with the start and will try to keep it going (Thursday).
 
Humphries, a former Louisiana State amateur champion and NCAA All-American at Louisiana State University, has struggled in his first season, making just one cut in five starts.
 
Baryla, now into his first full season on the Canadian Tour, dotted his scorecard with six birdies and a pair of bogeys Thursday. After carding a 3-under 33 on his front side, Baryla canned birdie putts on back-to-back par-3 holes coming in, converting attempts from twenty and three feet on numbers 13 and 14.
 
You really have to pick your spots on that back nine, admitted Baryla. I made a couple of mistakes today that cost me, but that is going to happen on a course like this.
 
Just two seasons after becoming the first Canadian amateur in twenty years to make the cut at the Bell Canadian Open, the 22-year-old Baryla has made four of five cuts in 2005 but is coming off a disappointing 63rd-place showing last week at the Corona Mazatlan Classic.
 
It just wasnt my type of course last week. I just couldnt get anything going. This course suits my game a lot better. I feel a lot more comfortable out there.
 
Tournament days are being staged Wednesday through Saturday to allow players to return to the United States in time for next weeks U.S. Open regional qualifying.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Michelin Morelia Classic
  • Full Coverage - Michelin Morelia Classic