Florida: Arjun Atwal was part of a jam-packed leaderboard which had seven players shooting six-under 66 to take a share of the lead at the end of the opening round at the Children's Miracle Network Classic, the final counting event on the PGA Tour for 2011. (Agencies)
Along with Atwal the others are world number one Luke Donald, James Driscoll, Nathan Green, Scott Stallings, Derek Lamely and Gary Woodland. The leaderboard was a great mix with second on the Money List bumping with Driscoll, who is No. 125 on the same list and only the top-125 get to keep the PGA Tour card for 2012.
Atwal is 118th but with a win in 2010, he is exempt till end 2012. Atwal shot a 66 with six birdies and no bogeys at the Palm Course, which played fairly easy on Thursday. The other course being used this week is the Magnolia Course.
"I really didn't expect much from the round today. It's been a mixed bag of everything this year, so when I started to hit it good, then I began putting really well. So today I didn't really have any expectations of trying to hit it, shoot low or whatever. Today I didn't think ahead of myself. I didn't think about anything. Just one shot at a time, like they say, but it was actually happening. So it was good." said Atwal.
"I mean, when you're over a shot you're thinking about the previous ones and what's ahead of you and all that. And no matter what people say, sometimes it does play on your mind.
Today it was kind of easier," added Atwal, whose best at the event is a tied 33rd in 2004.
He missed the cut in 2009, the last time he played the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. Donald who had six birdies is playing the opening two rounds with Webb Simpson, whose second place last week gave him a USD 363,029 lead in the money list.
So now Donald needs to win make things simpler for himself. Simpson also played bogey-free on the easier Palm Course for a 68.
The format for this week's event is for two pros to play with two amateurs, and with Nos. 1 and 2 on the money list at Disney. The lead group had Donald and Simpson, who are fighting to win the Money List honors.
Donald went ahead on the money list with a final birdie at THE TOUR Championship last month, but Simpson despite a loss in a playoff at the McGladrey Classic last week moved ahead to win the money list. Topping the Money list gives brings with it a five-year exemption.
Florida: Arjun Atwal was part of a jam-packed leaderboard which had seven players shooting six-under 66 to take a share of the lead at the end of the opening round at the Children's Miracle Network Classic, the final counting event on the PGA Tour for 2011.