Dickerson Takes Early Lead

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2005 Xerox ClassicROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Nationwide Tour rookie Bubba Dickerson, the 2001 U.S. Amateur champion, fired a 6-under-par 64 on Thursday to take the first round lead at the inaugural Xerox Classic.
 
Dickerson stands one stroke clear of Brent Schwarzrock, Camilo Villegas and Kim Felton, who share second place at 5-under 65. Nine players are tied for fifth place at 4-under 66, while 11 more are knotted on stroke further back in 14th place at Irondequiot Country Club.
 
The 24-year-old Dickerson, who is seeking his first win on the Nationwide Tour, collected eight birdies in his round to go along with two bogeys. This is the 17th event Dickerson has played so far this season, and he has just one top-10 finish -- a career-best third place at the Pete Dye Classic last month.
 
'I feel like I need to play to try and get ahead,' said Dickerson. 'Next year I'll set a schedule and stick to it. I think that'll help me.'
 
Dickerson has missed the cut in seven of his 16 appearances on the Nationwide Tour this year, including last week at the Price Cutter Charity Championship.
 
He also missed the cut after three rounds at the PGA Tour's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February.
 
'I think the expectations put on myself were a little too high a little too fast,' said Dickerson, who won the U.S. Amateur four years ago at Atlanta's East Lake Golf Course. 'But I'm starting to settle down, starting to play a lot of good golf.'
 
Dickerson got off to a scorching start in his first round, collecting three of his eight birdies on the first five holes, including a 12-foot putt for birdie at No. 1 -- the longest putt he made all day.
 
He dropped a shot at the par-4 eighth, but rebounded with a birdie at the par-5 ninth after reaching the green in two. That put him at 3 under around the turn.
 
Dickerson was still at minus-3 after a birdie at No. 12 and a bogey at the 13th, but he strung together three straight birdies from the 15th to get to 6 under par for the round.
 
'I hit a bunch of good shots and just kept plugging along,' said Dickerson. 'A good solid round, and just a lot of fun.'
 
The players tied for fifth place are: Eric Axley, Andrew Pratt, Kevin Gessino-Kraft, Nathan Green, Justin Hicks, Brian Kortan, Steve LeBrun, Deane Pappas and Scott Petersen.
 
Among the 11 players knotted at minus-3 is Troy Matteson, who shared second place with three players last week behind Price Cutter champion Roger Tambellini.
 
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