Eddie Karst and Carlson Cox both shot two-under-par 70s to grab the early lead in the 54-hole tournament at The Club at Ridgefields.
“I’ll take a 70 for the way I was hitting it,” said Cox, who won this event in 2011 and ’13 before turning professional. “It was not a good day for the swing. I’m just glad to be in the hunt.”
Cox, who regained his amateur status two summers ago, managed to successfully fight his swing most of the day. He made just one bogey when he lost a ball on the 14th hole. Other than that he was solid enough to stay in contention, relying on his putter to bail him out.
“I got the nerves out of the way last week at the East Tennessee Amateur,” Cox said. “I’m more at home at Ridgefields.”
Karst won this tournament in 2014 and got the most out of his round on Friday, considering he hit just three greens in regulation on the front nine. He managed to make the turn at even par before birdies at the 11th and 13th holes got him to two under, and he parred his way in.
“I got away with a few errant shots on the front,” Karst said. “I really scored better than I hit it. I think the course is playing hard so I’m pretty happy with that.”
Cox and Karst were one shot ahead of John Tysinski and Lucas Armstrong as four players in a 12-man Championship Flight field broke par.
After the top four, the closest score was a 76 by surprise Tillinghast Invitational champion Ken Miller.
Tim Dinwiddie shot 69 to grab the lead in the Senior Division. He held a one-shot lead over defending champion Mark Halvorsen and Bill Hardin and was three ahead of Mike Poe.
“I hit a lot of greens,” said Dinwiddie, a Greene County native. “I’m usually a very inconsistent putter. It was one of those days where I drove it well and made a few more putts than usual. When you do those two things, you’re going to shoot a good score.”
Bob Ross shot 74 to lead the Super Seniors.
The second round is scheduled for Saturday with the Seniors going first at 8:30 a.m. and the Championship Flight set to begin at 11 a.m.