Loupe, Hurley grab lead in Nebraska
Omaha, NE – Andrew Loupe and Billy Hurley III fired matching 8-under 63s on Thursday to share the lead through the opening round of the Cox Classic, the final event of the Web.com Tour regular season.
At the end of this tournament, the top 25 on the Web.com money list will earn PGA Tour cards, while the top 75 will advance to the four-event finals.
Loupe began the week outside the top 75, but the 24-year-old is projected to move to 12th on the money list after his productive opening round at Champions Run. Hurley too placed himself in prime position for a PGA Tour card, moving from 36th to a projected fifth with his bogey-free round.
"I know exactly where I am," said Loupe. "Obviously, there's thoughts running through your head. What if I finish here, or finish there. I really just have to chill out and play golf. This one doesn't mean anything without another good one."
Alexandre Rocha carded a 7-under-par 64 Thursday to sit in solo third, while Wes Roach, Jason Gore, Nick O'Hern and Marco Dawson all shot 6-under 65s to grab a share of fourth place. Roach currently trails money-list No. 25 Patrick Cantlay by $2,807.
"We put ourselves in a good position for the next couples days, still got a lot of golf left," said Roach. "I'm pleased with the start. Just hope to continue."
Loupe went off the 10th tee and bookended his round with a pair of eagles. In between, he suffered his lone gaffe at the 14th, where he stumbled to a double-bogey 6, before recovering with six birdies, including four straight from the third to grab the clubhouse lead.
Hurley, starting from the first tee, produced a steadier effort. The 31-year- old opened with a birdie and added four more during an outward 30 to turn at 5-under.
He closed his front nine with back-to-back birdies, then turned the trick again around the turn to move within a stroke of Loupe. After a par at the 12th, Hurley grabbed a share of the lead with a birdie at the par-4 13th, then parred out to stay there.
"Two years ago, I was 25th (on the money list). That felt a lot different, but I'm also a lot more experienced as a player, so that feels different too," said Hurley.
NOTES: Both Loupe and Hurley are seeking their first Web.com Tour win ... Loupe's best finish on tour this season is a tie for fifth at the South Georgia Classic. Hurley's best result this season is a tie for second at the United Leasing Championship ... Cantlay shot even-par 71.