Michael Letzig Michael Letzig, Kent Jones share first-round lead in Ginn sur Mer Classic

Two players in very different positions share the opening-round lead at the Ginn sur Mer Classic after shooting bogey-free rounds of 7-under-par 65 Thursday in Palm Coast, Fla.

Michael Letzig and Kent Jones head into Friday's second round at the Conservatory Course at Ginn Hammock Beach Resort with a two-stroke lead over Ryan Palmer. A group of four players, including last week's Frys.com Open champion Cameron Beckman, is three shots back at 4-under 68 in the sixth of seven Fall Series events.

Of the co-leaders, Letzig is playing with significantly less pressure. He entered the tournament No. 109 on the PGA Tour money list and has now posted six consecutive rounds in the 60s, dating back to a 69 in the second round of the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, despite missing the cut.

Last week, Letzig posted rounds of 69-66-68-68 to tie for 29th at the Frys.com Open. He recorded a career-best 63 in the third round of the 2008 Travelers Championship on his way to a tie for 10th.

"I'm very relaxed this week," Letzig told reporters. "I secured my card last week and proved to everyone that I belong out here. And now the pressure is off and I'm kind of just keeping relaxed out there."

That was evident on the greens as Letzig displayed a solid putting stroke. Six of his seven birdies came from outside 20 feet.

"It was all putting," Letzig said.

Jones had to battle for his round of 65. He was able to hack his way out of waist-high grass into a fairway bunker on the par-5 18th hole and then hit a 6-iron to within six feet of the cup for a birdie for his share the lead.

"That was my best round of the year, but that's not saying much," Jones told reporters. "I played very solid. For some reason, I seem to play better in the fall. I would like to play better earlier in the year and not put this pressure on myself, but I can't think about that."

At No. 179 on the money list, Jones is making his 22nd start of the season. He's still seeking his first top-10 finish of the year, but enters the week having posted all four top-25 finishes in his last nine starts, dating back to a season-best tie for 19th at the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee.

Jones has spent much of his 10-year professional career walking the line between keeping and losing his PGA Tour card.

"I think when you are right around the bubble every week it takes more of a toll, especially in the Fall Series now," Jones said. "Everyone's bringing it up and wants to talk to those guys, so it's hard to get it out of your mind and just play golf, and that's what you have to do."

Jeff Overton, currently No. 126 on the money list, opened with a 1-under 71 just nine days after undergoing an emergency appendectomy. His nearest competitor on the money list is No. 125 Patrick Sheehan, who carded a 2-over 74 on Thursday.

Defending tournament champion Daniel Chopra struggled to a 9-over 81.

October 31, 2008

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