Walsh grabs first round lead in Korn Ferry Tour qualifier at Dayton Valley

DAYTON — The wind tried to be the story in the first round of Stage One Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying at Dayton Valley Golf Club. But there is too much golf talent in the field of 65 players to allow that to happen even though winds gusted up to 20-25 mph late in the round.

Sean Walsh, Keller, Tex. fired a 7-under 65 to take a one-shot lead over Skyler Finnell of Carmel, Calif. Reno’s Trent Virden shot a 5-under 67 and is in a three-way tie for third with Eddie Olson, Aptos, Calif. and Mitchell Meissner of San Antonio, Texas.

Robert Bell, Pierz, Minn. carded a 4-under 68 in his fifth Dayton Q-school start and is tied for sixth with Patrick Grimes, Menlo Park, Calif. and Swede Fredrik Nilehn of Lubbock, Tex.

Thirty players in the field were under par in the difficult fast and windy scoring conditions that favored the players with early tee times. There were an additional eight players at even par and the total scoring average for the entire field was right at even par at 72.11.

Former Nevada Wolf Pack golfer Kaleb Gorbahn, Smithers, BC, Can. fired an even par 72 and is in an eight-way tie for 31st place. That position would be one stroke above the qualifying number if the tournament ended after one round.

“I’ll take it for sure,” said Walsh a former Gonzaga Bulldog golfer about his fast start. “I saw some putts go in early in the round and it gave me confidence to stay patient and let the score fall in place. I had two bogeys, an eagle and seven birdies so it all worked out.

“I kept the ball in front of me and took advantage of opportunities when they came up,” he continued. “My philosophy for Q-school is to take advantage of opportunities but don’t get over aggressive and it worked well.”

“I didn’t make any mistakes and hit the ball in the right spots,” said Virden, a McQueen High grad who didn’t have a bogey in his round. “I know Dayton really well and playing in the wind is certainly an advantage for anybody from Reno. If it keeps blowing the rest of the week that will be fine with me.”

Gorbahn, a native of Canada who finished second in last year’s Dayton Q-school, echoed Virden’s feeling about the wind.

“You can’t win it on the first day, but you can shoot yourself in the foot, so I’m not out of it by any means with these tough conditions,” he said. “I hope it plays like this for the rest of the week because I’m used to it and it makes it a ball-strikers tournament instead of a putting contest.”

The 20 low scores and ties after Friday’s final round of the 72-hole tournament will advance to Second Stage Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying at five sites in November. Players advancing to the second stage will play to make the Korn FerryTour Qualifying School Final where they will vie for a spot on the 2020 Korn Ferry Tour.

For complete results and individual player scorecards visit the web link: https://pgatq.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/pgatq19/event/pgatq1910/contest/1/leaderboard.htm


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