COLUMBUS, Ohio — Keith Mitchell took the lead in the Tour Finals-opening Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship on Thursday, four days after missing a PGA Tour card by a stroke in the Tour’s regular-season finale.

Mitchell had a 6-under 65 on Ohio State’s Scarlet Course for a one-stroke lead over Abraham Ancer of Mexico. Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer’s grandson, was another stroke back with Alex Cejka.

The four-event series features the top 75 players from the regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings and non-members with enough PGA Tour money to have placed in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup had they been eligible.

Ancer and the other top-25 finishers — Mitchell was 26th — on the regular-season money list have 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.

Hunter Mahan birdied the final two holes for a 68. The six-time PGA Tour winner was 182nd in the FedEx Cup standings. Five-time PGA Tour winner Ben Crane had a 69, and nine-time PGA Tour winner Stuart Appleby shot 75.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.