Sandy, UT (Sports Network) - Brad Fritsch fired a 7-under 64 on Thursday to
grab a share of the lead after the opening round of the Utah Championship.
Fritsch was joined in first at Willow Creek Country Club by Morgan Hoffmann
and Doug LaBelle II.
Jason Allred is one stroke off the lead at minus-6, while Andres Gonzales
headlines a group of seven players tied for fifth at 5-under 66.
Fritsch, who was in the group behind LaBelle, tripped to a bogey on the first,
but atoned for that mistake with a birdie at No. 3. After three straight pars,
he collected back-to-back birdies from the seventh.
The 34-year-old birdied the 11th and 14th to move to 4-under. Fritsch, who
missed the cut in three of his last four starts, closed with three consecutive
birdies to grab a share of the lead.
"The season has been weird for me. I usually make a lot of cuts. It either
seems I top-10 or miss the cut this year," said Fritsch, who has three top 10s
and six missed cuts in 13 starts this season.
Hoffman poured in three consecutive birdies from the third, but his run ended
with a bogey at the sixth. He caught fire again starting at the ninth.
He birdied that par 4, and followed with three more birdies in a row to jump
to 6-under. Hoffman, who shared fourth in his last start, birdied the 17th to
join Fritsch and LaBelle in first.
"There are going to be a lot of low scores out here. It's shown in the last
few years you need to go low," said Hoffmann, who tied for 29th at the U.S.
Open this year.
LaBelle, who was in the second group out off the first tee, parred his first
three holes before tripping to a bogey on the par-4 fourth. He bounced back
with birdies at five and seven.
The 2006 Price Cutter Charity Championship winner eagled the par-5 12th and
followed with a birdie on 13. LaBelle birdied three of the last four holes to
get in first at 7-under.
"I was trying to two-putt [the 18th], just dribble it down there. Thankfully,
it went in. When it's your day, it's your day," LaBelle stated. "I've played
some really good golf, tee to green, this year. But I haven't gotten anything
out of it. Missing four- and six-footers will do that to you."
NOTES: Hoffmann has no tour status, but got into the field thanks to his share
of fourth at the United Leasing Championship...Four of the last five winners
of this event have finished at 20-under par or more...Shawn Edwards was
disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard.
The Sports Network