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Three share lead at Stadion Classic
Athens, GA (Sports Network) - Brendon Todd, Rafael Echenique and Whee Kim each carded 5-under 66s on Thursday to share the lead at the Stadion Classic at UGA.
Tim Wilkinson, Brenden Pappas and Michael Putnam occupied third at 4-under 67, while Web.com Tour money leader Edward Loar is among seven players tied for seventh place at minus-3.
Jason Gore, who is the tour's all-time wins leader with seven, is one of nine players three strokes off the pace at 2-under at University of Georgia Country Club.
Todd started on the back nine and opened his round with a bogey at the 10th, but got that shot back with a birdie at the 12th.
After stumbling to another bogey at the 13th, the University of Georgia alum reeled off three straight birdies from the 14th to move to 2-under.
A par at the 17th briefly stopped the streak before he again ripped off a trio of birdies from the 18th to move to the top of the leaderboard.
Todd then followed a string of five straight pars with a birdie at the eighth to move to 6-under, but closed with a bogey at the last to finish at minus-5.
"As I was making putts out there, I was thinking that maybe I was remembering some of these lines a little better than I thought I would," said Todd. "I think you just don't pull out your yardage book as often and second-guess yourself. I think you step up there with a little bit more familiarity and you're able to rip off the shot you see with a little more confidence."
Echenique went out with one of the later groups and traded birdies at the first and sixth with bogeys at the second and eighth to remain at even par.
He would not drop another shot for the rest of the day, however, and started to make his way up the leaderboard with three birdies in a 4-hole stretch starting at the ninth.
Echenique then parred the next three holes before rolling in back-to-back birdies at the 16th and 17th to join Todd atop the leaderboard at 5-under. He parred the last to remain there.
"I was putting so-so the last few weeks and for me today was very good. I tried to focus more on my rhythm and it worked better today," Echenique said. "I didn't make any long putts, but I made a lot of shorter ones."
Kim was the last of the co-leaders to tee off and he also started on the back nine.
He jumped out to a quick start with birdies at the 10th and 11th before tripping to a bogey at the 12th.
But he quickly regained his early form by rolling in three straight birdies from the 13th to move to 4-under.
Kim dropped another shot at the 17th, but after parring the next six holes, he birdied the sixth and ninth to grab a share of the lead.
NOTES: Brett Wetterich withdrew prior to the start of the first round and was not replaced as there were no alternates available ... The field includes 45 of the top-50 money winners through the first seven events of the year ... Jeff Klauk hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation ... Defending champion Hudson Swafford carded an even-par 71 and sits in a tie for 38th.
05/02 20:42:35 ET
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