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Steven Alker way off the pace in Indiana

Published: 3:21PM Friday August 30, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

Steven Alker has begun poorly in his fight to re-gain a PGA Tour card in the Tour Finals series.

The 43-year-old Hamilton professional, who missed out on a PGA Tour card by one place last week at the end of the regular season on the Tour, has opened the Hotel Fitness Championship with a four-over par 76 to be in a share of 123rd place.

Alker, who won the Utah Championship in July, to turn his season around, is projected to be in 83rd position on the Tour Finals Series Standings.

He needs to finish inside the top-25 players from the final four events to earn a card for the PGA Tour in 2013 - 2014.

The former NZ PGA Champion played the front nine of the Jack Nicklaus-designed Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Indiana in even-par 36 before coming home in four-over par 40 for a forgettable start.

Meanwhile Tim Wilkinson has opened with a three-under par 69 to be in a share of 26th place.

The 35-year-old from Palmerston North, who finished 10th on the Tour regular-season standings, is projected to slip to 27th in the re-rank on the current standings.

Wilkinson will begin round two five shots back from American Scott McCarron who opened with an eight-under par 64.

Danny Lee, who finished 15th on the money-list, has opened with an even par 72 to be tied 84th after round one. The former World No.1 amateur is projected to drop to No.64 on the current standings.

The Tour Finals bring together the top 75 money earners on the Tour money list, players who finish 126-200 on the PGA Tour's FedExCup points list and non-members who have earned enough FedExCup points based on their performance on the PGA Tour to place them 126-200 on that list.

These players will compete in four full-field stroke play events to battle for 50 PGA Tour cards for the 2013 - 2014 season.

Twenty-five cards have already been secured through the Tour regular season.

Those players will now play for their priority ranking while the rest of the players chase after the remaining 25 cards.

Meanwhile New Zealand No.1 Michael Hendry has continued his solid debut season on the Japan Golf Tour.

The 33-year-old North Harbour pro, who has won three times in 2013, has opened with a two-under par 70 at the Vana H Cup to be in a share of 18th place after round one.

The two-time NZ PGA Champion will begin round two three shots back from leaders Yuki Inamori and Sung-Joon Park as he searches for his first title on the Japan Golf Tour.

David Smail got off to another slow start at the Keya Golf Club in Fukuoka. He opened with a two-over par 74 to be tied 85th.

The top 70 players on the money-list at the end of the season retain their cards on the Japan Golf Tour.

Meanwhile up in Europe Michael Campbell is in a fight to make the cut at the Wales Open.

The former U.S. Open Champion, who missed the cut last week in Gleneagles, Scotland, has opened with a two-over par 73 to be in a share of 69th place.

Campbell is currently 163rd on the Race to Dubai Standings and needs a big turnaround to qualify for the Dubai World Championship.

Meanwhile in the women's game Waikato rookie professional Sarah Bradley has delivered a timely turnaround in form in stage one of qualifying for the LPGA Tour.

The former NZ amateur rep from the Cambridge Golf Club, who had opened with scores of 73 and 77 to be in a share of 92nd place, carded a five-under par 67 in round three to climb and is currently tied 28th.

The Rancho Mirage qualifier is the first of the LPGA Tour's three sectional qualifying events in 2013.

The top-100 players at the end of the week will advance to the second stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Florida and will unfold October 8-11.