Area Golf Digest

Crow leads local players after first round of GSGA Amateur

Former Northgate High golf standout Zac Crow soared to a top-10 opening round as the Georgia State Golf Association's Amateur Championship began Thursday at Pinetree Country Club in Kennesaw.

Crow, who is now a student at the University of Georgia and founded UGA Club Golf, began the four-day event with an even 71 to tie for ninth-place on the leaderboard after 18 holes. He's enters today as one of four players from Coweta County competing in the event.

Play continues through Sunday, with the field of 144 cut to 70 following today's second round.

Crow posted three birdies, two of which came on his final nine holes after making the turn at 1-over. He finished 2-under for the day on par 5s, sinking a birdie putt on No. 2 to pull even and then righting himself immediately following a final bogey on the par-4, sixth hole. A final birdie on No. 7 left him at even for the day.

Crow's round included 12 pars to go with three bogeys.

Dalton's David Noll Jr. - who won consecutive amateur titles in 2010 and 2011 - grabbed the first-round lead with a 4-under 67, led by an eagle on No. 9, to go with four birdies. Noll has a two-stroke lead on David Watts of Cleveland and Zachary Healy of Peachtree Corners.

Four players are tied for fourth place at 1-under. Defending champion Lee Knox is among 10 players tied at 5-over.

The tournament field also includes Coastal Georgia sophomore and former Newnan High standout Trevor Smith as well as longtime Newnan Country Club member Michael Budgen.

Smith righted himself after a sluggish start to finish with a 7-over 78, during a first round that opened and closed with double bogeys. He managed to string together five consecutive pars before making the turn, then battled back for six more following a bogey on No. 2.

Also starting at 7-over with Smith was Barry Reading of Newnan after a roller-coaster first round. Reading parred his first five-holes before posting four consecutive bogeys before the turn. He then made four more pars, followed by three more bogeys - all on par 4s before finishing with par on both No 17 and No. 18.

Budgen opened the tournament with a 9-over 80, but managed to stay within reach of the cut with help from a pair of birdies on the backside. A pair of double-bogeys left the Newnan golfer at 7-over after his first nine holes.

He finished with seven pars and was just 1-over among par 5s on Thursday.

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