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Strong start puts card within reach

GREENSBORO, N.C. — If Jeff Quinney keeps this up, he might soon have a new PGA Tour card — and a spot in the playoffs.

Quinney and Tommy Gainey shot 7-under 63s Thursday to share the lead after one round in the Wyndham Championship.

Quinney had eight birdies, including five in a row early in his round, to start strong in his last chance to qualify for golf's postseason.

Gainey had five birdies and an eagle in matching his career-best round. Both players are chasing their first PGA Tour victory.

Stuart Appleby had 64. Ten players — Paul Casey, Carl Pettersson, Ernie Els, Jason Bohn, Jimmy Walker, Tim Herron, Lee Janzen, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh and George McNeill — shot 65s during another low-scoring day at Sedgefield Country Club.

Quinney arrived in 215th place in the FedEx Cup standings. A win — and the 500 points that accompany it — would put him in the playoffs, take the top 125 in the standings.

"The only chance I get in the playoffs is probably winning this week and coming with the attitude of 'all-in,' " Quinney said. "Basically, just push all your chips in, and this is what I got."

Starting on the back nine, Quinney birdied Nos. 12-16 to move to 5 under. After bogey on No. 18, he added three birdies on his final nine holes and closed by sticking his 140-yard approach shot within 3 feet and sinking that putt for his eighth birdie.

Quinney, who has conditional status on the tour, is playing his 11th tournament of the year.

Gainey caught him during the afternoon, with four birdies and the eagle coming during the South Carolina native's front nine. He moved to 7 under with birdie on the par-4 13th, but ran into trouble on No. 15 when he sent his tee shot into a creek and closed his round with five pars.

Els, who arrived at No. 126 in the playoff standings, was part of a morning threesome of bubble players that also included No. 124 Cameron Beckman and No. 125 Camilo Villegas, a former Gators standout.

"I said to the guys, 'My playoffs started this week. If I don't play well this week, I'm not advancing,' " Els said. "Most of the other guys have four playoff events. I have five. I feel like I need to do well (to go to) the Barclays (the first playoff event, next week) and keep going. It's hard not to think about it. There's quite a bit of pressure on us guys lower down the field. We need to perform well."

Furyk had two eagles in a span of four holes, his second multi-eagle round this year.

Champions: Jeff Sluman shot 6-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Senior Players Championship in Harrison, N.Y., the final major of the season.

Sluman, the winner last month at Pebble Beach, had seven birdies and a bogey on Westchester Country Club's tree-lined West Course. Gary Hallberg and Peter Senior opened with 66s.

Jay Haas, the 2009 winner, Corey Pavin and Michael Allen were two strokes back at 67, and Fred Couples, defending champion Mark O'Meara and Tommy Armour III had 68s.

Strong start puts card within reach 08/18/11 [Last modified: Thursday, August 18, 2011 11:15pm]

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