Price tops crowded leaderboard in Panama
Panama City, Panama (SportsNetwork.com) - Aron Price carded a 4-under 66 on Thursday and took a 1-stroke lead after the first round of the Panama Claro Championship.
Price, the 2008 Livermore Valley Wine Country Championship winner, tops a leaderboard that has 25 players within three strokes of his lead at Club de Golf de Panama.
Last week's winner Jon Curran posted a 3-under 67 to grab a share of second. He was joined there by J.J. Killeen and Jose Toledo.
Alex Cejka and Adam Hadwin, who won the first two events this year in Colombia and Chile, are among eight players tied for fifth at minus-2.
Price got off to a quick start with birdies on the first and fourth. He gave one of those shots back as he stumbled to a bogey on the par-3 sixth.
The Australian ran off six straight pars from the seventh. Price move to minus-2 when he birdied the par-3 13th. After a pair of pars, Price birdied the final two holes to grab the lead.
"It's like a mini-British Open. You can hit the middle of the fairway and it will keep rolling and rolling and wind up somewhere in the rough," Price said. "You have to manage things well here. When you're in the rough, you usually don't want to land it on the green because it's so firm the ball just bounces over."
Curran opened with six straight pars. He dropped in consecutive birdies at 16 and 17, but gave those shots back with bogeys on the 18th and second. He climbed into second place with birdies on the fourth, sixth and eighth.
Killeen also started on the back nine and traded a birdie for a bogey from the 12th. He later bogeyed the 18th to make the turn at plus-1.
Around the turn, Killeen poured in four consecutive birdies from the first to soar into a share of the lead. He dropped a shot on the par-3 sixth, but came back with a birdie on the seventh to share second place.
"This golf course is a great test. It's difficult and may be the hardest we play all year," Killeen stated. "When it's windy like today you're going to have a lot of 20- and 30-footers for birdie and not many tap-ins. You can't be upset making pars out here at all."
Toledo birdied the second and came back with an eagle on the par-5 fourth to grab a piece of the lead. He fell back with bogeys on the eighth and 10th to slide to minus-1.
The 27-year old rebounded with birdies at 11 and 12 to move back to 3-under. Toledo ended there as he closed with six consecutive pars.
NOTES: Killeen, Colt Knost and Justin Bolli all birdied the first through fourth during their rounds ... Fifth-five of the 144 players had at least one double-bogey ... Ted Purdy withdrew after shooting 77 due to illness.
03/20 21:03:41 ET