Swafford, 3 others tied atop Chiquita Classic
A week after Trevor Immelman shot 20 under to win the Hotel Fitness Championship, birdies were harder to come by Thursday at River Run Country Club in Davidson, N.C.
But Hudson Swafford, Nick O'Hern, Ed Loar and Ben Kohles were able to make enough of them to grab a share of the first-round lead at the Chiquita Classic, the second of four events in the inaugural Web.com Tour Finals.
"Back to boring golf, that's what my caddie and I try to play," said Swafford, who made an eagle and three birdies en route to an opening-round 5-under 67. "It hadn't been so boring lately. (Hitting) fairways and greens are a must out here. . . . Can't really play this golf course out of the rough."
Swafford, a former University of Georgia standout, is among those vying for one of 25 PGA Tour cards that are on the line. The top 25 in the regular-season money list already have earned their cards for the 2013-14 season, but there are 25 more available for the top earners in the four playoff events.
Swafford has made just 11 of 22 cuts on the Web.com Tour this season, including last week. A win at River Run, though, would guarantee him his PGA Tour card. Kohles, who won twice on the Web.com Tour last season to earn his PGA Tour card, missed the cut last week, as well.
O'Hern, whose round included six birdies and an eagle, played a limited schedule on both the PGA and Web.com tours this year, but his T-24 finish last week has him in good position on the Web.com Tour Finals money list.
Loar already has his card via his regular-season earnings, but he's trying to earn better priority for next season.
Troy Merritt, D.J. Brigman, Peter Tomasulo and Matt Davidson are all a shot back at 4 under.
Last week's winner, Trevor Immelman, shot a 1-over 73 while Bud Cauley, also trying to keep his PGA Tour card, shot 72. Cauley was T-5 last week.