Cheney shot a six-under-par 66 Saturday at Johnson City Country Club to post the lowest first-round score among those who finished.
Before much of the field had completed the round, the expected rains came and rendered the already saturated course unplayable.
Golfers who didn’t finish will resume the first round on Sunday at 9 a.m. The ones who did manage to finish will begin the second round on the first tee, starting around 9. The second-round pairings won’t be reset based on scores as is custom. Instead, players will stay in the same groups in which they played the first round.
Cheney, a 25-year-old former Tusculum golfer from Nashville, was one shot ahead of 67s shot by Johnson City’s Matt Love and White Pine’s Lucas Tabor. Johnson City golfer Richard Lowe posted a 69 as well.
For Cheney, course knowledge didn’t come into play. It was just the third time he’s played the A.W. Tillinghast layout. He picked the brain of some players who have spent time at the JCCC course.
“I was lucky to have some really good guys show me around and tell me where to go and where not to go,” Cheney said. “I made a lot of good mental notes.”
Those notes led to five birdies and an eagle on the par-five 13th hole.
“I hit it in the right spots,” Cheney said. “On par-fives, when I missed fairways, I was able to lay up to a good number in the fairway. I didn’t shoot myself in the foot very often today which was nice. I didn’t do anything special today but I didn’t do anything really bad, either.”
The course was already wet before the round began so players were allowed to lift, clean and place their ball in their own fairway.
“Hitting the fairway was obviously very important,” Cheney said. “If you were in the rough, it was kind of difficult to gauge how the ball would come out. Being able to put ball in fairway off the tee was very paramount today.”