Gamez leads Texas Open

SAN ANTONIO, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Robert Gamez shot a course-record 7-under-par 63 Thursday and held a one-shot lead after the first round of the Texas Open.

While the eyes of the golf world will be on the Ryder Cup this weekend, Gamez tried to get the best to a field that included 14 former Ryder Cup players.


Gamez had few problems at the LaCentera Golf Club, posting a round that included nine birdies and two bogeys. Gamez had a one-shot lead over John Huston and Frank Lickliter II and was two strokes in front of D.A. Weibring.

"I played solid all day," said Gamez, who has four top-10 finishes this year. "I hit a lot of good golf shots and I started out well. That's what you have to do to shoot a good score."

Two-time defending champion Justin Leonard, who sank the putt that clinched the 1999 Ryder Cup for the United States, is trying to become the second player to win this tournament three times. Leonard opened with a 1-under 69.

Starting his round on the back nine, Gamez went right to work with consecutive birdies on Nos. 10 and 11. On the par-4 10th, he hit a 6-iron to within 12 feet of the cup.


"I got off to a hot start on the back nine, which was my first nine holes today," Gamez said. "I had some birdies right off the bat and got going."

Gamez continued to torch the back nine with a stretch of four birdies in five holes from Nos. 14-18. He had his first bogey at the par-4 15th.

On the front nine, Gamez had three birdies and a bogey. He had his birdies on Nos. 7-8 to surge to the top the leaderboard.

After finishing fourth at the Pennsylvania Classic two weeks ago and tying for 13th at last week's Tampa Bay Classic, Huston's steady improvement continued Thursday.

Huston posted a bogey-free round that included six birdies. The 64 matched his best round since the 2000 Bay Hill Invitational.

The top money earner on the tour entered this week is Rich Beem, the winner of the PGA Championship and The International who is fifth on the money list with $2.8 million. He shot a 69 Thursday.

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