Hurley and Loupe tied at Cox Classic, Rocha one shot back after first round

Billy Hurley
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Billy Hurley shares the Cox Classic lead knowing that he is well inside the number to get into the Tour Finals.
Royce Thompson, Tour Staff

Series: Tour

Published: Thursday, August 22, 2013 | 11:28 p.m.

OMAHA, Neb. – Andrew Loupe fired an 8-under 63 in the morning wave of the first round of the Tour’s Cox Classic on Thursday. Billy Hurley III matched that effort in the afternoon with a bogey-free 63 to take a share of the lead.

One shot back with a 7-under par 64 is Brazil’s Alexandre Rocha.

Marco Dawson, Jason Gore, Nick O’Hern and Wes Roach are all two strokes off the pace in a tie for fourth.

Loupe, starting on the back nine, got off to a hot start, draining a 30-foot eagle putt on his first hole of the day at Champions Run. His only bad hole, a double bogey on No. 14, actually helped him, as his errant tee shot helped him concentrate on a swing thought he used to card six birdies and an eagle on his last 11 holes.

“I just thought, ‘high right shoulder through the ball,’” he said. ”It’s just something I’ve worked on for years with my coach.”

Having a share of the lead after the first round is nothing new for Loupe. He fired an opening-round 64 at the Panama Claro Championship, the first event of the season, to share the lead with Mark Anderson. The Louisiana native will look to draw on that experience heading in to Day 2.

Loupe currently sits at 86th on the money list, needing to get inside the top 75 to play in the Tour Finals. The Louisiana State Tiger, however, is not bothered by his current standing, and has decided to just focus on what happens inside the ropes instead. 

"I know exactly where I am,” he said. “I just need to play golf.”

Hurley doesn’t necessarily have any pressure on him this week, or at least that’s the way he sees it. He currently sits at 36 on the money list, way inside the number to get into the Finals. He knows it would take something pretty special for him to earn his PGA Tour card this week.

“I’ve got to have a great week,” he said. “I’m just going to try and make birdies and see what happens. We’ve got a long way to go. I just need to stay focused and play a good one tomorrow.”

Hurley will get right back at it in the morning after playing in the afternoon on Thursday, but doesn’t look at that as an advantage. However, he does like the way he’s taking advantage of good approach shots into the greens.

“I didn’t really have any good looks that I missed,” he said. “I’m putting it well, so that’s good.”

A win this week would put either of the co-leaders inside the top 25 on the regular season money list, earning them a PGA Tour card for the 2013-14 season.

First-Round Notes:

--Wes Roach came into the week ranked 26th on the money list, roughly $3,000 behind Patrick Cantlay. This is the last week players can earn a PGA Tour card for the 2013-14 season by finishing in the top 25 on the regular season money list.

Roach fired a 65 and Cantlay carded an even-par 71. Roach sits in a tie for fourth, whereas Cantlay is tied for 107th and in danger of missing the cut. Even with his great start, Roach is not worried about the money list.

“I don’t really think too much about the money list,” he said. “I try not to focus on what everyone else is doing.”

--James Sacheck was the last man to get into the field this week when Bhavik Patel withdrew. He carded a bogey-free 68 after getting in town late on Wednesday afternoon.

--Steven Alker registered par on all 18 holes.