Lee Porter among Tour qualifying leaders

Nov. 28, 2001 at 6:20 PM

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Lee Porter, whose best year by far on the PGA Tour was still not good enough to ensure his return to the circuit in 2002, fired a 6-under 66 Wednesday that gave him a share of the lead after the opening day of the tour's six-round qualifying tournament.

Craig Bowden, Boo Weekley, Ben Bates, Jaxon Brigman, Eduardo Herrera and Kevin Durkin also shot 66 over the Bear Lakes Country Club course as the annual grind got underway for those hoping to advance their golfing careers.

Porter has been on and off the tour for a decade and only once has he finished among the top 125 money earners who are invited back the next season. He won $346,000 this year, but that was good only for 137th place.

Among those at 67 were tour veterans Ted Tryba and Joe Ogilvie while Gary Nicklaus fired a 68 to tie for 16th as he attempts to regain his tour card.

The top 35 finishers and ties from a field of 167 will earn playing rights for 2002.

Other would-be qualifiers of note included 17-year-old Ty Tryon, who shot a 70 to tie for 59th place; and international players Luke Donald and Aaron Baddeley, both of whom shot a 71 to tie for 81st.

Donald, from England, recently turned pro after being a member of the victorious Walker Cup team.

Among those tied with Nicklaus at 68 was Andy Dillard, whose biggest splash in the golfing world came when he led the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach after two rounds. Dillard eventually faded and the tournament was won by Tom Kite.

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