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Long Goes Low for Early Lead

GLENVIEW, Ill. -- After an unexpected week off due to rain, Michael Long and the Nationwide Tour returned to action Thursday at The Glen Club. Long fired a 7-under-par 65 to take a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the La Salle Bank Open.
Ted Purdy and Victor Schwamkrug share second place at 6-under-par 66, with Sal Spallone, a Monday qualifier, one stroke further back at minus-5.
Long began his day on the front side and nearly holed his chip for eagle at the par-5 first, but settled for birdie. After a trio of pars, Long drained a five-footer for birdie at the par-5 fifth. He coasted to the turn with four consecutive pars.
Around the turn, Long really got going. He dropped a lob-wedge within six feet to set up birdie at the par-4 10th. Long drained an eight-footer for birdie at the par-4 13th to touch off a run of three straight birdies.
Long two-putted for birdie at the next, before sticking a lob-wedge within one foot of the cup at the 15th. He closed out his bogey-free round with a tap-in birdie at the 18th.
'The par-5s played downwind today,' said Long, who birdied all four par-5s. 'I hit a lot of greens and made some putts.'
The Nationwide Tour has had just one event, of eight played, not delayed by rain and that one tournament was completed in rain. Last week's event, the Henrico County Open, was completely washed out by rain, but has been rescheduled for mid-July.
'It has been hard to keep any momentum going the past couple of weeks because of the weather,' said Long, who hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation. 'It has been a crazy two weeks.'
Purdy began his day in fine fashion on the 10th hole. He holed a wedge shot from 117 yards out for eagle at the 10th. He followed that with a 10-foot birdie putt at the next to quickly get to minus-3.
His momentum was briefly halted when he bogeyed the par-4 12th. Purdy, who won the First Tee Arkansas Classic earlier this year, caught fire again when he ran off three straight birdies from the 15th. He stumbled with a three-putt bogey at the 18th to make the turn at minus-4.
Purdy two-putted for birdie at the par-5 first. His putter hurt him again when he three-putted for bogey at the par-4 third. Purdy bombed his drive on the 599-yard par-5 fifth. He knocked his 9-iron second shot from 165 yards out to six feet and two-putted for birdie.
He posted back-to-back birdies from the seventh to climb to minus-7. However, he missed the green at the par-3 ninth and was unable to get up-and-down for par. The bogey cost him a share of the first-round lead.
'I made eight birdies and an eagle, so life is good,' said Purdy. 'That drive on No. 5 was the longest drive of my life. I made some great putts but I missed some short ones too.'
Schwamkrug, like Purdy, had a late bogey that cost him a share of the lead. He two-putted for birdie at the first, before sinking a five-footer for birdie at the fourth. Schwamkrug followed that up with a 25-foot eagle putt at the fifth to get to minus-4. He birdied the eighth to head to the back side at 5-under.
Around the turn, Schwamkrug bombed his drive over the green at the 333-yard 10th. However, he got up-and-down for birdie to keep his momentum. He later two-putted for birdie at the par-5 14th. Schwamkrug bogeyed the par-5 18th to drop into a share of second place.
'I took advantage of the par-5s, except for the last one,' said Schwamkrug. 'I just didn't get in any trouble today.'
Joe Ogilvie, who won the season-opening Jacob's Creek Open, and Zach Johnson, who claimed the Rheem Classic in late April, are tied for fifth place at 4-under-par 68. They share fifth with Tommy Tolles, Bo Van Pelt, Ty Armstrong, Rich Barcelo, Daniel Chopra, Paul Claxton, Kevin Johnson, Hank Kim and D.A. Points.

Related Links
  • Full-field scores from the LaSalle Bank Open
  • Full coverage of the LaSalle Bank Open