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No tour card, but an opening 61

GREENSBORO, N.C. — If Arjun Atwal keeps this up, he will have a new PGA Tour card in no time.

Atwal tied a tournament record with 61 Thursday and took a two-stroke lead at the Wyndham Championship. Matching Carl Pettersson's 2-year-old mark at the par-70 Sedgefield Country Club course, the native of India was 9 under through the first round of the tour's final event before the playoffs.

Brandt Snedeker shot 63. John Rollins, Kevin Streelman, Lucas Glover, Boo Weekley, David Toms and Jeev Milkha Singh were at 64, and six players shot 65s during an occasionally wet day that left Sedgefield's greens soft and its leaderboard crowded.

It was an encouraging start for Atwal, who lost his tour card last month and had to play his way into this event in a Monday qualifier across town at Forest Oaks Country Club.

"You get used to making a lot of birdies in the Monday qualifier. Otherwise, you won't make it," Atwal said. "I kind of continued that (Thursday)."

He isn't eligible for the FedEx Cup playoffs that begin next week, even if he wins. But he can claim his card for 2011 with a victory, either here or at a fall series tournament.

champions: D.A. Weibring and Tom Lehman shot 5-under 67s to share the first-round lead at the Tradition in Sunriver, Ore. The Tradition is the fourth of five majors on the tour. Nearly one-third of the 66-player field was within two strokes of the lead.

Five players shot 68. Among that group was Corey Pavin, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, who made an eagle at the par-4 10th by holing a 163-yard 8-iron.

Also at 68 was 2008 Tradition champion Fred Funk, Bob Gilder, Fulton Allem and Gil Morgan. Bernhard Langer, the tour's season earnings and Charles Schwab Cup leader, was among 13 players at 69. He is aiming to become the second player in tour history to win three consecutive majors.

"There are opportunities out there, and the guys out here are good and will take advantage," Lehman said.

"I hit very few good shots. If I hadn't had a good putting round, it would have a very mediocre day."

Weibring rallied with birdies at Nos. 17 and 18. "You don't normally plan on making birdies at 17 and 18," said Weibring, whose last tour win came in the 2008 Seniors Players Championship.

He said he's "a day-in, day-out" proposition, depending on whether a bone spur in his left shoulder causes pain.

No tour card, but an opening 61 08/19/10 [Last modified: Friday, August 20, 2010 12:42am]

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