Trio on Top at Tour Championship


2005 Nationwide Tour ChampionshipPRATTVILLE, Ala. -- David Morland IV, Kevin Durkin and Jon Mills all posted rounds of 5-under-par 67 on Thursday to share the first-round lead of the Nationwide Tour Championship.
Cliff Kresge, Jim McGovern and Rick Price are knotted in fourth place at 4-under-par 68 at the Senator Course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Capitol Hill.
This event features the top 61 players on the 2005 Nationwide Tour money list. Jason Gore, second on the money list, already made it to the PGA Tour via the 'battlefield promotion' and subsequently won, so the top-20 other players on the money list after the final round will head to the PGA Tour for the 2006 season.
Mills is fourth on the money list and is all but assured of gaining his PGA Tour card. This year's Canadian PGA Champion made the turn at even par, thanks to a birdie and a bogey.
He caught fire on the second nine with birdies at 10, 13 and 14. Mills collected back-to-back birdies at 16 and 17 to join the pair atop the leaderboard.
Morland traded a birdie and a bogey on his first two holes, but drained a 12-foot birdie putt at the fifth. He made it two in a row with a tap-in birdie at six, then rolled in a 7-footer for birdie at the ninth.
Morland hit a pitching-wedge to 5 feet to set up birdie at 11, but struggled to a bogey at the very next hole. At the par-4 15th, Morland played a 9-iron to 8 feet and converted the birdie try.
He reached the par-5 17th green in two and two-putted from 40 feet for a birdie. That put Morland in the clubhouse at minus-5 and the man who sits 53rd on the money list needs three more good rounds to return to the PGA Tour.
'My scenario is to win to get my PGA Tour card back, that is my No. 1 goal,' admitted Morland. 'Right now, this is just another golf tournament. I've got to perform well for it to benefit me this week.'
Durkin, 38th on the money list, bogeyed the second hole, but atoned for the mistake with a 25-foot birdie putt at the third hole. He ran home a 6-foot birdie putt at the sixth and added another from 15 feet at No. 7. Durkin sank a 30-foot birdie putt at nine to make the turn at 3-under 33.
Durkin parred his first three holes on the second nine, then broke into red figures on the back side with an 8-footer at the 13th. He collected his second birdie in as many holes with a 5-footer at 14.
The 31-year-old missed an 8-foot par putt at the 15th to fall to 4 under, but got it back at the next hole with a 3-foot birdie putt. Durkin parred his last two for a piece of the lead.
'I've got nothing to lose,' said Durkin. 'I've already got my Nationwide Tour card wrapped up. I just want to go out and have fun for four days. Today was a good start for me.'
Ryan Armour is alone in seventh place at 3-under-par 69. Tom Scherrer, Nathan Green, Jason Schultz, Bill Haas and David McKenzie are in the top-20 at the moment and are tied for eighth place at minus-two.
Troy Matteson, the tour's top earner, only managed a 3-over-par 75 and is part of a group tied for 48th place.
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