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Haley claims early Midwest Classic lead
Overland Park, KS (SportsNetwork.com) - Paul Haley II fired a 7-under 64 on Thursday to claim a 1-stroke lead after the opening round of the Midwest Classic.
Haley, who has missed the cut in his last four starts and six of his last seven overall, is seeking his second career win on the Web.com Tour.
Air Capital Classic winner Sebastian Cappelen, Manuel Villegas, Shane Bertsch and Mark Hubbard carded matching 6-under 65s at Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate to share second place.
Zack Sucher, Derek Fathauer, Korbin Kuehn, Jin Park, Jose de Jesus Rodriguez, Henrik Norlander and Jose Toledo are tied for sixth at 5-under 66.
"I expected to play well this week," said Kuehn, who is making just his second career start on the Web.com Tour. "It was a little nerve-wracking last year. This year it was the same, but I just got off to a better start."
Haley started fast by holing his second shot at the par-4 first for an eagle.
He then birdied the second and fourth to quickly reach 4-under before stumbling a bit by following a bogey at the fifth with a double-bogey at the sixth to fall back to minus-1.
Haley would not drop another shot for the remainder of the day, however, and managed to get two of those shots back with consecutive birdies at the eighth and ninth.
After parring the next three holes, he raced home with four birdies over his final six holes to claim the clubhouse lead at 7-under.
Bertsch was the only member of the afternoon wave to match Haley's score, but he could not hang on to finish a shot off the pace.
Bertsch parred his first three holes before converting four straight birdies from the fourth.
He later birdied the 10th, 11th and 15th to claim a share of the lead at 7- under, but then fell behind with a bogey at the 16th. He parred his final two holes to finish at minus-6.
Cappelen and Hubbard both recorded six birdies during their bogey-free rounds, while Villegas countered a lone bogey with seven birdies to earn his share of second place.
Jarrod Lyle made his first start in over two years after a lengthy battle with leukemia and carded a 4-under 67 to sit in a tie for 13th place.
"I think the most surprising thing was my focus," Lyle said. "People talk about a game face and I was ready to go on the first tee. I think that shows that it's all starting to come back for me."
NOTES: Haley's lone win on tour came at the 2012 Chile Classic ... Kuehn missed the cut at this event last year ... This is the first time Haley holds the lead after the first round.
07/24 21:56:04 ET
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