Chris Crawford of Bensalem, Pa., seized the first-round lead all to himself on Tuesday in the GPro Tour’s annual fall event at Morganton’s Mimosa Hills Golf Club, the Mimosa Challenge, but he had plenty of chasers.
Crawford, a former Drexel University golfer who three times has earned his way into the U.S. Open field through qualifying, fired an 8-under par round of 62 — the third and 12th holes at Mimosa are playing as par 4s rather than par 5s per usual for the tour this week — to take a one-shot advantage through 18 holes.
Crawford made birdie on No. 2 then caught fire with four consecutive birdies from the sixth through ninth holes. After making the turn, he carded additional red figures at Nos. 14, 16 and 18 and finished his round without a bogey.
Tied for second place after matching 63s were Charlie Huntzinger of Buford, Ga., and Philip Knowles of Jacksonville. Huntzinger and Knowles also did the majority of their heavy lifting on the front nine, where they each shot 31 with four birdies. Knowles had an adventurous back nine with just two pars, making five birdies but adding bogeys at the par 3 13th and 17th holes.
Jake Carter of Aiken, S.C., was in sole fourth after a 64, and four golfers including Greensboro natives Stanhope Johnson and Drew Nesbitt opened with 65 to sit three off the early pace.
Eight golfers shot 66 and 13 shot 67. 39 golfers broke par on an extremely low scoring round at Mimosa.
2017 Mimosa GPro summer event champion Mark Kriston of Clemmons was among those at 67. Apex native Bryce Hendrix, this summer’s Mimosa GPro winner, was at 69.
Elliott Grayson of Shelby also shot a first-round 69, and Spindale’s Dylan Lancaster shot 70.
The low 32 pros plus ties in the 96-player field were set to make the cut after Wednesday’s late round two, and the 54-hole tournament concludes today.
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