Maybe it was the immediate challenge Puyallup’s Derek Barron needed, just to get a taste of life at PGA Tour Qualifying School.
Playing in the final group, when the breeze was howling through San Juan Oaks Golf Club, Barron shot a 1-over-par 73, and is tied for 41st after the first round of the event.
The top 22 after four rounds advance to the second stage.
Tacoma’s Chris Griffin also shot 73, follwed by University Place’s Andrew Putnam (74) and Fife’s Chris Ming (77).
Barron was 3-over after he hit an approach shot into a hazard, and made double bogey at the par-5 15th hole.
But he was stellar all day on the par-3s, getting birdies at No. 16 (9-iron tee shot to 4 feet), No. 6 (5-iron to 3 feet) and No. 8 (6-iron just short, chipped in from 30 feet). The last two came on holes playing into the wind.
“I feel great actually,” Barron said. “As bad as I could play, honestly.”
AT PGA TOUR QUALIFYING SCHOOL
This week: First stage from Tuesday through Friday, San Juan Oaks Golf Club, Hollister, Calif.
In the field: Puyallup’s Derek Barron, Tacoma’s Chris Griffin, Fife’s Chris Ming and University Place’s Andrew Putnam.
Barron’s and Griffin’s first-round score: 1-over-par 73.
Putnam’s first-round score: 2-over 74.
Ming’s first-round score: 5-over 77.
Position: Barron and Griffin are tied for 41st, Putnam is tied for 50th and Ming is tied for 66th – all trailing co-leaders Eric Meichtry, Brady Stockton and Mark Warman (65).
Tee times Wednesday: Barron at 9:35 a.m. PDT off the first tee, Ming at 9:35 a.m. PDT off the 10th tee, Putnam at 10:05 a.m. PDT off the first tee and Griffin at 10:15 a.m. PDT off the first tee.