Brady Schnell fired a five-under-par 67 to hold a one stroke lead over Jae Woo Im and Todd Killingsworth after the first round of the Canadian Tour’s Spring Qualifying School in Parksville, B.C.
Sharing fourth spot at 69 are Mike Roters, Erik Olson and the Canadian pair of David Williamson and Jordan Irwin.
One stroke behind them in eighth spot is Roger Sloan, Matt Marshall, Thomas Petersson, Andrew Jensen, Mitchell Fox, Marc Bourgeois and Jason D’Amore.
Schnell, a former Nebraska Cornhusker, opened with a birdie and followed it up with two more at the fourth and fifth for a bogey-free 33 on the front side.
After an eagle at the par five 10th and birdies at 12 and 13, it looked like Schell was going to run away with it, but a triple-bogey six at No. 14 brought him back to the field. Recovering nicely, he promptly birdied 15 before parring his way home.
Im, brother of Canadian Tour player Daniel Im, had four birdies and no bogeys while Killingsworth was three-under through five and made the turn in 32 after eagling the ninth.
Like many others, however, Killingsworth did little more than hold it together on the back side, firing even par.
Williamson turned in a 32 on the front nine to keep pace but managed just one birdie against two bogeys on the back nine.
Jensen scattered five birdies and a bogey on his front side, but shot 38 coming home.
“The third through ninth hole kept me up at night worrying. but I played them well today,” said Jensen.
“Unfortunately, I missed a lot of makeable putts on the back nine, which is very uncharacteristic of me. It was pretty lackluster stuff coming in.
“I don’t know why guys were struggling on the second half today – it’s mostly a drive and a wedge to each hole, but maybe it is just nerves.
“You start to think about where you are and what might happen.”
The Ottawa native is hoping for a return to Canadian Tour status after losing his card last season and failing to advance both in the fall and at the Florida school earlier this year.
“It’s been a difficult year but I keep telling myself that I am good enough to be out here,” said Jensen.
“I’ve got a new team around me and I feel refreshed being here. My game plan here is to stay conservative and attack when necessary.”
The top six players at the conclusion of play on Friday will receive exempt status, while the next six and ties earn non-exempt status. In the event of a tie for the sixth exempt spot, a sudden death playoff will be held to determine the final exempt card.