PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Rhein Gibson shot a 7-under 63 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead in the Web.com Tour Finals-ending Web.Com Tour Championship.
The 29-year-old Australian had eight birdies and a bogey on TPC Sawgrass' rain-soaked Dye's Valley Course. He hit 12 of 14 fairways.
"If I can hit the fairway I feel pretty comfortable with my game," Gibson said. "It's pretty wet out here on the foot so there's a premium on hitting the fairway. Even though we had ball in hand, we're wiping clunks of mud off the ball. With a wet rough, you're just not going to advance the ball if you're not in the fairway."
The tournament is the fourth and final event in the series for the top 75 players from the Web.com Tour money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedExCup standings and non-members who earned enough money to have placed in the top 200 had they been eligible to receive points.
The top 25 players on the Web.com Tour regular-season money list earned PGA Tour cards. They are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for 25 cards based on series earnings.
Gibson was 33rd on the Web.com Tour regular-season money list and entered the week 18th on the series money list with $33,942.
"I had a chance to finish in the 25 in the regular season, but I didn't," he said. "I'm in a good spot now and if I keep playing well I can get a card. It's the pinnacle. It's what everyone out here is trying to achieve. To be honest, I'd love to get my card but at the end of the day I know I've got a job on the Web.com Tour next year. I'm just free-wheeling it."
Lucas Glover, Sam Saunders and Mexico's Oscar Fraustro were tied for second.
Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, was 147th in the FedExCup standings and is 15th on the series with $38,991. Saunders, Arnold Palmer's grandson, was 137th in the FedExCup standings and is 12th on the series list with $46,950 – more than enough to lock up a PGA Tour card. Fraustro was 186th in the FedExCup standings and missed the cuts in the first three series events.
Last year, Eric Axley took the 25th card with $36,312.
Sweden's Henrik Norlander won the series opener in Indiana, and Chez Reavie took the second event in North Carolina, and Andrew Loupe won last week in Ohio.
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