With one last chance to earn his PGA Tour card for the 2014-15 season, Ryan Blaum shot 8-under 64 in Thursday’s first round of the Hotel Fitness Championship to take the lead in the first of four events in the Web.com Tour Finals.
The 30-year-old Blaum went bogey-free at Sycamore Hills in Fort Wayne, Ind., and leads Tom Hoge and Greg Chalmers by one shot.
The top 25 players on the Web.com Tour money list earned PGA Tour cards last week. They are competing against each other for PGA Tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals and the final leader getting a spot in The Players Championship.
The rest of the players — Nos. 26-75 on Web.com money list and Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings — are fighting for another 25 cards based on earnings in the series.
Blaum finished 31st on the Web.com Tour’s regular-season money list. Chalmers was 132nd in the FedEx Cup standings, and Hoge was 65th on the Web.com Tour money list.
Carlos Ortiz, who has won three times on the Web.com Tour this season and is fully exempt for the 2014-15 PGA Tour season, opened with a 76. Derek Fathauer, Bud Cauley, Sam Saunders, Tony Finau and Dicky Pride shot 66.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.