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Baryla two back of the lead at Soboba Classic

Chris Baryla

Steve Helber

Chris Baryla of Vernon, B.C. is two strokes off the lead after the first round of the Soboba Golf Classic in California.

Baryla had seven birdies to offset three bogeys and a double bogey for a 2-under 69 to sit in an eight-way tie for second place behind Andres Gonzales.

Baryla is looking to make the cut for the first time in four starts this season on the Nationwide Tour. Last year, while playing on a medical exemption, he made just one cut in 19 tries on the PGA Tour.

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Gonzales, a runner-up at this event a years ago, made just four birdies on the day but was the only player in the field to record a mistake-free round.

"I didn't miss any putts that I should have made," said the 28-year-old who finds himself in the lead for the first time in his career. "There were a couple of good looks that I had that just didn't go in."

Adam Hadwin of Abbotsford, B.C., bogeyed two of his last four holes to finish with an even par 71. He sits four strokes off the pace in a tie for 23rd.

Stuart Anderson of Sooke, B.C., stumbled down the stretch with a bogey-double bogey for an opening round 73. He finds himself tied with Bryan DeCorso of Guelph, Ont., while Ryan Yip (74) of Calgary is a further stroke back.

Matt McQuillan of Kingston, Ont., opened with a disappointing 78 while Brad Fritsch of Ottawa, coming off a pair of top-10 results in his last three starts, struggled to an opening round 82.

With a first place prize of $135,000, the winner of this event will take a big step towards securing his PGA Tour card for next season. Last season, it took just under $181,000 to finish in the top 25 of the Nationwide Tour money list.

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