Three share lead in Utah
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.
07/12 21:53:21 ET