La Quinta, CA – Steve LeBrun fired an 8-under 64 on Thursday to grab a 1-stroke lead after the first round of the PGA Tour Qualifying School.
LeBrun has spent much of his career on the Web.com Tour and his best career finish on that circuit was earlier this year, when he took fourth at the Miccosukee Championship. He finished 56th on the Web.com Tour money list in 2012.
Edward Loar and Kris Blanks, who both have won on the Web.com Tour, opened with 7-under 65s. They were joined in second place by Jin Park and Alexandre Rocha.
Robert Karlsson, an 11-time winner on the European Tour, was joined in sixth place at minus-6 by Adam Crawford and Richard H. Lee.
Two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton and Morgan Hoffmann are among 11 players tied for ninth at 5-under 67. Former PGA Tour winners Daniel Chopra and Vaughn Taylor are among a large group tied at minus-4.
The 6-round event has players competing for three rounds each on the Stadium Course and the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West. Of the top eight on the leaderboard, Karlsson and Lee were the only ones that played the Nicklaus Course in the opening round.
LeBrun started his round with birdies at the second and fifth. After three pars in a row, he dropped in back-to-back birdie efforts from the ninth.
The 34-year-old Florida native birdied the 14th and came right back with a birdie on No. 15 to move to 6-under.
LeBrun grabbed a piece of the lead as he birdied the 17th. He closed with a birdie at the last to move one clear of the field.
Camilo Villegas, a 3-time winner on the PGA Tour, posted a 2-under 70. Among those he shares 50th place with are defending Q School medalist Brendon Todd, Billy Horschel, 2-time winner on the European Tour Rafael-Cabrera Bello, Len Mattiace and 2003 PGA Champion Shaun Micheel.
Nick O'Hern, Tom Pernice, Jr., Billy Mayfair, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and 2004 British Open champion Todd Hamilton all carded 71s on Wednesday.
NOTES: This 6-round marathon goes until Monday ... 110 of the 172 players broke par in the opening round ... Among those that failed to break par were Tim Petrovic, Patrick Cantlay, former NCAA champion Matt Hill, 2-time PGA Tour winner D.J. Trahan and Paul Stankowski.