McKinney, TX – Tag Ridings, No. 51 on the money list, fired a 6-under-par 65 on Thursday to grab a share of the lead at the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship.
The top 60 players are in the field this week, but only the top 25 on the money list at the tournament's conclusion will earn PGA Tour cards for 2013.
"If I play well I don't have to go to work this fall and that's what I want," said Ridings. "I want to be able to hang out with my new baby and my other two kids who need to see what Daddy looks like."
Of the six first-round leaders, only Justin Hicks (11) and Brad Fritsch (21) are in the top 25.
As with Ridings, other Day 1 front runners Michael Putnam (30), Cliff Kresge (38) and Justin Bolli (44) will need to turn in strong performances to earn their PGA cards.
Luke Guthrie, No. 2 on the money list, and Philip Pettitt, Jr. (36) share seventh place at 5-under, while Nicholas Thompson (20), Scott Gardiner (24), Matt Weibring (41) and Edward Loar (44) all carded a 67 on Thursday at blustery TPC Craig Ranch.
"You try to focus on the golf tournament, recognizing that this is a tournament and you're trying to win the money list or finishing 21st like I am now," said Fritsch, who is attempting to reach the PGA Tour for the first time. "If you freak out every time the guy in front of you makes a birdie, that's too much to think about and I'm way too tired to be thinking about that."
Money-list leader Casey Wittenberg is part of a large group tied for 13th at 3-under and No. 3 Russell Henley, who won the Jacksonville Open in a playoff over B.J. Staten last week, is knotted with several others at 1-under.
Also at minus-1 is bubble-watch candidate Doug LaBelle, who resides in 26th place on the money list -- $287 behind No. 25 Camilo Benedetti.
The Columbian Benedetti sits at 1-over.
The Web.com Tour Championship offers the largest purse of the season at $1 million; affording PGA hopefuls a significant opportunity to improve their money-list standings.
First place for the tournament garners $180,000, second place takes home $108,000 and third place earns $68,000.
NOTES: Hicks is the only one of the six leaders to have officially wrapped up a PGA Tour card...Every winner this season on the Web.com Tour is in the field this week. Wittenberg, Guthrie, Henley, Shawn Stefani and Ben Kohles are the only players with two tour wins this season.