New Zealand No1 Danny Lee and Manawatu professional Tim Wilkinson have made slow starts to the final stage of qualifying for the PGA Tour in La Quinta, California.

Wilkinson, who finished 59th on the Tour in 2012, opened with a one under par 71 at the PGA West Stadium Course to be in a share of 82nd place after round one.

The left-handed former PGA Tour pro had three birdies and two bogeys as he tries to return to the game's most famous tour.

Meanwhile Lee, who finished 159th on the PGA Tour money list to lose his card, was one shot further back in a share of 111th place after carding an even par 72 also at the Stadium Course of PGA West.


Lee had an up and down round that included four birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey.

Both players will rue bogeying their last hole of the day to slip further off the pace. They are seven and eight shots back from Steve LeBrun who opened with a superb eight under par 64 to lead the tournament by one.

There are six rounds in the qualifying event with 172 players competing for only 25 places on the PGA Tour in 2013.

Bristow off the pace in Florida

North Harbour professional Cathryn Bristow has also made a slow start as she attempts to join the LPGA Tour in 2013.

Bristow, who won on the ALPG Tour in January, has carded a four over par 76 at the Champions Course at the LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida, to be in a share of 79th place after round one in the five-round event.

She is currently eight shots back from the trio of leaders Americans Kathleen Ekey and Kim Welch and Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn who opened with rounds of four under par 68.

There is a field of 122 players hoping to earn a spot on the 2013 LPGA Tour at the LPGA final qualifying tournament.

The top-20 qualifiers earn category 12 status on the 2013 Tour while players who finish 21st through 45 and ties will earn membership in category 17.

The final stage will cut to the low 70 players and ties after 72 holes. Those players making the cut will compete in the final round on the Champions Course.

Bristow, who is currently five shots back from the qualifying mark at one under par, has to go low in the next three rounds to make the cut and then advance into the top 20 to secure her place on the LPGA Tour next year.