Ortiz, Knost share Rex Hospital Open lead
Raleigh, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Carlos Ortiz and Colt Knost carded matching 7-under 64s on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Rex Hospital Open.
Ortiz and Knost are both two-time winners on the Web.com Tour. Ortiz's wins have both come this season at the Panama Claro Championship and El Bosque Mexico Championship, while Knost earned each of his titles in 2008.
Max Homa is in third place at 6-under 65. Steve Wheatcroft and Steve Allan each shot a 5-under 66 and are tied for fourth.
Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship winner Alex Cejka is among a group of nine players to card a 4-under 67 at TPC Wakefield Plantation and share sixth place.
Ortiz opened his bogey-free round with three straight pars before rolling in a birdie at the fourth. He added another birdie at the seventh to make the turn at 2-under.
The Mexican reeled off four straight birdies from the 11th to race to 6-under and later converted his seventh birdie of the day at the 17th to reach minus-7.
"It was a stress-free round," said Ortiz. "I just try to hit the fairway and hit the green. I know that sounds dumb, but my game plan is not to think about things."
Knost was the only player from the afternoon wave to match Ortiz and recorded birdies at the 15th and 17th during an outward 33 to make the turn at 2-under.
He then closed his round with a flourish, posting three straight birdies from the fourth to reach minus-5 before ending his day with consecutive gains at the eighth and ninth to earn his share of the lead.
"On this tour you have to be aggressive and you have to fire at a lot of pins," Knost said. "I've been steady all year with a lot of 1- and 2-under scores. I just haven't been able to put four rounds together. It's nice to get the lid off and make some putts today."
Homa started on the back nine and quickly got into red numbers with a birdie at the 11th.
After parring the next three holes, he converted three birdies in a four-hole stretch from the 15th to make the turn at 4-under.
Homa converted birdies at the sixth and ninth around seven pars during his back nine to finish at 6-under.
NOTES: With one more win this season, Ortiz will earn an automatic promotion to the PGA Tour ... Homa was the 2013 NCAA Individual Champion ... Mark Anderson withdrew after completing his first round with a 2-over 73.
05/22 22:40:37 ET