Stroud fires 62 to lead by three

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, Last Updated: 10:20 AM ET

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Chris Stroud fired a 10-under 62 Thursday to grab a three-stroke lead with the first round of the Children's Miracle Network Classic suspended due to darkness.

Stroud missed the course record by two strokes on the Palm Course at Walt Disney World Resort.

Roland Thatcher posted a seven-under 65 and is alone in second place. Thatcher also played the Palm Course on Thursday.

The Palm Course as well as the Magnolia Course at Walt Disney World Resort are used for the first two rounds as players are paired with amateurs for those rounds. The final two rounds will be contested on the Magnolia Course.

Among the top 13 scores on the leaderboard, just two played the Magnolia Course in round one.

The first round was delayed one-hour at the outset of the round by fog and was later suspended by darkness. There were 14 players left on the course. They will resume the first round at 7:00 a.m. (et) Friday, while the second round will start as scheduled at 6:45 a.m.

This week is all about the battle to get inside the top 125 on the money list. If players can do that, they would retain their PGA Tour cards for 2011.

Stroud entered the week 119th on the money list, while Thatcher needs a top- two finish to keep his card as he came into the tournament ranked 179th.

Rickie Fowler, Jerry Kelly, Cameron Percy, Tim Herron and Brenden Pappas are tied for third at minus-six.

Stroud got off to a fast start with birdies on the 10th and 11th. He also birdied No. 13 to collect his third birdie in the first four holes.

After a pair of pars, Stroud rolled in a birdie chance at 16. He made it two in a row with another on 17. He parred three straight holes around the turn.

"Really, the biggest hole I think today was my ninth hole, No. 18. I hooked it into the hazard left off the tee, and got it up-and-down from 210 yards out," Stroud said. "I hit an awesome shot to like 15 feet and made that for par. That was the momentum swing that kept me rolling."

Stroud birdied three and four to gain a share of the lead at minus-seven. He took the out-right lead thanks to his third consecutive birdie at the fifth.

At the par-five seventh, Stroud converted his ninth birdie of the day. He closed his bogey-free round with a birdie at the last to lead by three.

"I have been playing so well in the Fall Series. I had trouble back in California and withdrew, so I was just happy to be able to play this week," stated Stroud.

Thatcher, who played alongside Stroud, matched Stroud's birdies on 10 and 11. However, Thatcher tripped to a bogey on the 14th. He atoned for that mistake with a birdie at 17.

The 33-year-old Thatcher birdied one and two to get to minus-four. He jumped into a share of second place with an eagle on No. 7. The three-time winner on the Nationwide Tour came right back with a birdie at eight to finish at seven- under.

"Any time you're paired with somebody who's doing what Chris was doing, which was making a lot of putts, it surely can let you know that the birdies are out there and you can be a little more aggressive," Thatcher stated. "It gives you that little competitive kick that sometimes you don't get with somebody who's not playing well. I'm sure we both probably helped each other out in that respect."

As for the race for the final spots inside the top 125 on the money list, Robert Garrigus and Woody Austin are in good shape to keep their cards. Ranked 122nd and 123rd on the money list, they both opened with four-under 68s and share 14th.

Michael Allen is 124th on the money list and will need a big second round as he struggled to a two-over 74, which left him tied for 112th. Troy Matteson, No. 125 on the money list, posted a 70 Thursday, but his card for next year is secure thanks to a win in 2009.

The first three outside the top-125 are Briny Baird, Aron Price and Bob Estes. Baird shot 70, Price posted a three-under 69 and Estes struggled to a 73.

NOTES: The only other time Stroud led after a round on the PGA Tour was after round two of the 2008 Texas Open...Brendan Pappas had a hole-in-one on the par-three eighth...Alex Cejka withdrew after the first round.


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