Ponte Vedra Beach, FL – Ashley Hall fired a 7-under 63 on Thursday to grab a 1-stroke lead after the first round of the Web.com Tour Championship.
Hall missed the cut at the Cox Classic, the final regular season event to fall outside the top 25 on the money list, costing him his PGA Tour card for next year. He has missed the cut at the first three Final Series events and likely would need a top-6 finish this week to earn enough money to get his PGA Tour card for the 2013-14 campaign.
Mark Anderson carded a hole-in-one en route to a 6-under 64. He was joined in second place on the Dye's Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass by Robert Karlsson.
Chesson Hadley and Shane Bertsch are tied for fourth at minus-5. Dicky Pride and Jhonattan Vegas are among nine players that share sixth at 4-under 66.
Hall opened his round with back-to-back birdies from the first. He parred three in a row before converting a birdie chance at the sixth.
After three more pars to close out his opening nine, Hall birdied the 10th to move to minus-4. He followed a birdie on the par-4 13th with another birdie at the 14th.
That gave Hall a piece of the lead. However, he stumbled to a bogey at the 15th, where he called a penalty on himself as his ball moved when he grounded his club. The Australian bounced right back with a birdie on the par-5 16th.
Hall parred the 17th, then birdied the last to grab the lead by himself.
"The greens are very soft. I was shooting at everything and I'm not going to change it," Hall stated.
Anderson, who locked up his card during the regular season, played the back nine first on Thursday and he got going with a birdie in the 12th. After a par on 13, Anderson's tee shot at the par-3 14th found the bottom of the cup for a hole-in-one.
The BMW Charity Pro-Am winner parred four in a row from the 15th. He notched back-to-back birdies at one and two, then birdied the seventh to get to minus-6. He parred the last two to end there.
"It's all about improving your position because these Finals events are extremely important. If you can get that exempt status and get into The Players that's a tremendous advantage and a nice perk," Anderson stated.
Karlsson flew out of the gate with three birdies in the first four holes. He also birdied the seventh to had to the back nine at minus-4.
The two-time European Ryder Cupper birdied 14 and 16 to grab a piece of second.
"It was a great round. The first few holes played very easy and I made three birdies in four holes, and I made the important saves when on the shots I missed," Karlsson stated. "The greens are really, really good."
NOTES: Defending champion Justin Bolli opened with a 1-over 71 and is tied for 70th ... The top 25 on the Finals Series money list after this week will earn their PGA Tour cards for the 2013-14 campaign ... With wet course conditions, the round was played under preferred lies ... Cameron Beckman withdrew during the round.