By Greg Deal
Shorelines Editor & Publisher
MCCORMICK, S.C. – Brian Richey has put up some low scores this year and come close to winning a couple of tournaments, finishing in third place twice.
Richey knows he has plenty of work ahead and plans to stay grounded.
“This is a long tournament,” said Richey, a Florida Southern University graduate and Lakeland, Fla., native. “I got off to a solid start, but I’ve got to play three more rounds.”
The Classic is being played Thursday through Sunday on the beautiful lakeside Monticello course in Savannah Lakes Village, which borders South Carolina and Georgia. The tournament is affectionately known as “the Masters of the NGA Tour.” It consistently rates atop the player favorites.
Richey, who holds a one-stroke lead over a trio of golfers who are at 5 under, had 33s on the front and back nines. He started his day on the back nine and got off to a blistering beginning, birdying the par-4 10th and the par-5 11th. He also birdied the par-4 13th. He birdied holes 3, 5 and 8 on the front nine.
“The golf course is in great shape,” Richey said. “The ball is running well in the fairways. There are plenty of birdies to be made.”
Richey has been inconsistent, at times, in opening rounds, generally starting slow and finishing strong. This time he decided to see how things looked from the front. The 66 is his second-lowest round of the season. He had a 65 in the first round at Sapelo Hammock.
Richey will have plenty of competition, as Tyson Alexander (University of Florida) winner of the event at Ocala, is among a trio of golfers at 5 under. Alexander, of Gainesville, Fla., is currently third in the NGA Tour money list standings. Also at 5 under are J.C. Horne (University of North Florida/Jacksonville, Fla.) and Daniel Obremski, of Irwin, Pa. This is an especially good start for Obremski, who has failed to make the cut in all but one event this season.
Five players are tied at 4 under. In all, 16 players are within four shots of the lead heading into Friday’s second round.
Friday tee times start at 7:30 a.m. at the first and 10th tees.
For full scores and a look at the leaderboard, visit NGATour.com