Bray on Top at Nationwide Event

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Nationwide TourMIAMI -- Dustin Bray fired a 6-under 65 on Thursday to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the Nationwide Tour's Miccosukee Championship.
 
D.A. Points was in second place at 5-under 66, while tour money leader Roland Thatcher led a group of five players at 4-under 67.
 
Fabian Gomez, Scott Weatherly, Jon Mills and Marc Turnesa joined Thatcher in a tie for third place, and there were 39 players overall within five shots of Bray's lead.
 
Only 40 players broke par on a tough first day at the par-71 Miccosukee Golf & Country Club, where heavy rains earlier this week and especially overnight Wednesday left the course soggy and slow and playing longer than its 7,200- yard length.
 
The lift, clean and place rule was in effect, but the scoring average still climbed to 71.986 shots -- the highest single-round average since the tournament began in 2003.
 
Hitting fairways and greens was still the goal, and Bray came out ahead by doing just that. He found 12 of 14 fairways and 13 greens in regulation in a bogey-free round.
 
'I'm just trying to make it simple this week,' he said. 'Hitting fairways was the key for me today. I was focusing on hitting the right club off of the tee, but out here that is pretty straight forward.'
 
Bray's round included four birdies in a six-hole stretch from the fifth. He added birdies at the 14th and 16th holes -- the last one coming on his longest made putt, from 12 feet.
 
At 127th on the money list, Bray is among the desperate this week as players jockey for a top-60 position to make the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship next week.
 
The top 25 players on the money list at the end of the season receive PGA TOUR cards for 2008.
 
'My iron play has been good for a while now,' said Bray, who has missed 21 of 27 cuts this season, including 11 straight. 'If you hit fairways and greens, you're going to be in contention about every week. Hopefully I'll keep this going the rest of the week.'
 
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