Five share lead at Timberlake's event

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, Last Updated: 10:20 PM ET

LAS VEGAS -- Michael Letzig eagled his last hole Thursday to shoot a seven-under 64 and share the lead with four players at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

Robert Garrigus, Will MacKenzie, John Senden and Cameron Tringale also opened with 64s to sit atop a crowded leaderboard after the first round at the TPC Summerlin.

They shared a one-shot lead over Vaughn Taylor, Ryan Palmer, Nicholas Thompson, George McNeill and Martin Flores.

John Daly, Davis Love III, Stephen Ames and Charles Howell III led a group of 15 players who were one stroke further back at 66.

Letzig hammered his second shot about 250 yards at the par-five ninth hole to set up his three-foot eagle putt. It was the second eagle of his round to go along with five birdies and two bogeys.

Senden and Tringale both birdied their last holes, with Senden chipping to about four feet and Tringale draining an eight-foot putt.

Players hit aggressive shots Thursday in perfect scoring conditions -- and for reasons that stretch beyond this week.

Timberlake's tournament is the fourth of five Fall Series events -- making it the second-to-last chance for players who are otherwise ineligible to secure a PGA Tour card for next year.

Players must be inside the top 125 on the money list after next month's season-finale in Disney World to earn full playing privileges for 2011.

"Still have a couple weeks to make a good year out of it," said Letzig, who is 148th.

Among the co-leaders, only Senden, who is 77th on the money list, is safe at the moment. Playing in a late group, he made seven birdies, including three in his last four holes.

"You could see the numbers shot this morning. With no breeze, soft greens, it was a good recipe for low scores," said Senden, the 2006 John Deere champion.

Tringale is in the worst spot among the leaders, sitting 186th on the money list and needing a big finish.

Garrigus, at No. 122, has spent the second half of his season trying to shake off his epic collapse at the St. Jude Classic in June. Armed with a three-shot lead, he drove into a pond on the final hole and made a triple-bogey, falling into a three-way playoff that was ultimately won by Lee Westwood.

A double-bogey would have given Garrigus his first PGA Tour win and a two-year exemption. Instead, he is fighting for his tour card.

"It was really hard after Memphis. Everybody was like, 'Hey, great playing.' I'm like, yeah, I know, but whatever. Kind of nice when you have a job where you make a half a million dollars and you're furious," said Garrigus.

Despite making eight birdies and a bogey Thursday, Garrigus said he left a couple of shots on the course. One of them came on his last hole.

"I made par because I had to go to the bathroom so bad, I couldn't even walk," said Garrigus, who finished on No. 9. "I was walking down the fairway and I was thinking, I really need a restroom right now. But I didn't know if I was going to be (drug) tested or not today."

He wasn't tested after the round and took care of the problem as soon as he got off the course.

"If I could have felt like this walking down the ninth fairway," he said in his interview, "I could have made birdie."

MacKenzie is 146th on the money list and playing in the final season of the two-year exemption he earned for winning the 2008 Viking Classic. He started the round with three consecutive birdies, hitting a five-iron to six feet to set up the last one.

"Of course, I started thinking it's about time for me to shoot a real low one," said MacKenzie.

Webb Simpson aced the 240-yard eighth hole with a three-iron hybrid club, saying he didn't know he had a hole-in-one until he got to the green.

"I saw the ball mark a couple feet short and I knew it was in," said Simpson, who was among those tied at 66.

NOTES: Defending champion Martin Laird of Scotland opened with a 69...There are two unofficial events in Malaysia and China before the season ends at the Children's Miracle Network Classic in Florida starting Nov. 11.


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