Evansville, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Tag Ridings fired a 5-under 67 early on in Thursday's first round and he holds a 1-shot lead at the United Leasing Championship.
Ridings has one career victory on the Web.com Tour and that was way back in 2002 at the Permian Basin Open. This season he has missed the cut in four of six events.
"I hit a lot of great iron shots," Ridings said. "I'm really happy with my irons these days. These new irons have been great and on top of that my yardage control has been real good so I had some close birdie putts."
Luke List and Michael Hebert are both tied for second following a pair of 4- under 68s at Victoria National Golf Club.
Peter Tomasulo, Miguel Angel Carballo, Chris Baker, Andy Winings and Rick Cochran III are one shot further back and tied for fourth at 3-under 69.
Playing the back nine first, Ridings surrounded a bogey on 11 with birdies on 10 and 12, getting him into red numbers through three holes.
Following a pair of pars at 13 and 14, Ridings traded a bogey on 15 for a birdie on 16, keeping him at minus-1 as he made the turn with two more pars.
Most of Ridings' damage came on his closing nine, mainly his final four holes. Ridings made two birdies in his first three holes on the front nine at two and three. Only problem was those were canceled out by bogeys on one and four.
Still at 1-under for his round, Ridings exploded up the leaderboard by making four straight birdies from No. 6 to take the early lead. Ridings, who was part of the early pairings, outlasted all the later groups to hold the first-round advantage.
List had a big front nine that included four birdies on one, four, five and nine. He took the outright lead at minus-6 with an eagle at the par-5 10th, but a bogey on 12 and a double-bogey on 14 dropped List back to 3-under.
Back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 got List back on track and up to minus-5, but a bogey at the last dropped him back a slot.
"For me, it was about position so I was hitting some hybrids out there to make sure I got the ball in the fairway," List admitted. "It's very visually intimidating. You step up and you've just got to pick small targets and swing aggressively at those small targets."
Hebert, also playing the back nine first, jumped out to a great start as well with birdies on 10, 13, 15 and 16. He finished up his opening nine with a bogey at 18.
Making the turn at minus-3, Hebert had gains on three and four, tying him with Ridings for the lead. Hebert later gave those away with back-to-back bogeys on seven and eight. However, a birdie at the par-5 ninth pushed Hebert back to 4- under and one back heading into round two.
NOTES: Only eight players carded rounds in the 60s on Thursday and just 25 were under par ... Ridings' best finish this season is a tie for 16th at the Chile Classic ... Jamie Lovemark had a hole-in-one at the par-3 fifth hole ... All seven 2015 winners on the Web.com Tour are in the field this week.