Mylan Classic field breezes through soft Southpointe course
Troy Merritt tees off Thursday in the first round of the Mylan Classic at the Southpointe Golf Club.
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Near ideal weather and playing conditions marked the first round of the Mylan Classic Thursday at Southpointe Golf Club, and it was reflected in the scores.
Eleven players shot 66 or better on the par-71 course and the two co-leaders sit at 7 under. And 11 more players shot 67 and are only three shots off the lead.
"There were definitely some opportunities to score out there today," said 22-year-old Ben Kohles, who finished his round by draining a 12-foot putt to birdie the 18th for a 68.
"The greens were not quite as firm as maybe they have been and so you had some chances to be aggressive and go at some of the pins."
The players also took advantage of the calm conditions.
Kohles, who is third on the Web.com tour money list, said that if the breeze picks up the course will become much more difficult.
"I think, with the trees and the hills, if the breeze starts to blow around it could make it difficult to hit some shots and you'd see the scores go down a little bit," said co-leader Robert Streb, whose 64 was a season low.
"But the key out there on this course is getting the ball off the tee to a position where you have a good angle to approach some of these greens. The greens aren't as firm and fast as they were last year, so you can be a little more aggressive with every club except your wedge.
"You have to be careful with your wedge because it can bite and then with some backspin roll to a bad spot, but with every other club you may use on your approach shot, you can pretty much hit it and it will stop."
Streb, who is 23rd on the Web.com money list, is tied for the lead with Ed Loar, who also shot his season low (he also shot a 64 on the PGA Tour at Greenbriar).
Loar said that it was nice to get off to a good start because he has struggled with consistency.
"Golf can be an extremely frustrating game," Loar said. "I felt like I've played good all season but today I made a few more putts, got a few more breaks. But this course is in beautiful condition, and if you can keep the ball in the fairway you can post some scores. ...
"The way the course is playing, you have to get out here and shoot some low numbers if you are going to have a chance."
Casey Wittenberg (second on the money list), David Lingmerth (25th on the money list) and Marc Turnesa trail Loar and Streb by one shot.
Defending Mylan Classic champion Kevin Kisner finished his day two shots off the lead at 5 under and is tied with Paul Claxton (16th on the money list) and four others.
One player of local interest, former Southpointe caddie and Trinity High School graduate Steve Wheatcroft struggled a bit and finished with a 73.
"My putting was horrendous," Wheatcroft said. "I hit the ball well all day but I think I counted 35 putts. I know this -- I need to putt the ball much better [Friday] or I'll be going home."
NOTES -- Jon Mills hit the sixth hole in one in Mylan Classic history on hole No. 3, a 198-yard par 3. Mills, who shot 72, said he hit a 6-iron. ... The second round will begin at 7:20 a.m. today. ... The cut line for the weekend will include the top 78 spots (including ties).
First Published August 31, 2012 12:00 am