GOLF Hinckley shoots 8-under-par 64 to lead at the Ohio Open
The course record is unofficial because of the lift, clean and place ruling.
AURORA (AP) -- Brian Hinckley shot an 8-under-par 64 Monday at the Barrington Golf Club to take a four-shot lead after the first round of the 81st Sky Bank Ohio Open.
Brian Varsey shot a 4-under 68 at Barrington, one shot better than 2002 champion Bob Sowards, who played at nearby Walden Golf and Country Club and was tied with two others.
Sowards and Bob Mann each shot 3-under 69 at Walden, and John Gerber matched that score at Barrington. There were only 23 sub-par rounds in the field of 216.
"Really?" said Hinckley when told he had shot an unofficial course record. "That's good. That's my second unofficial one in two weeks."
Northern Ohio PGA officials allowed players to lift, clean and place in the fairways after heavy rains Saturday soaked both courses. That keeps Hinckley's round from being the sanctioned best at the 10-year-old course 30 miles southeast of Cleveland.
"I think they made the right decision," Sowards said. "There were three or four fairways over at Walden that were real wet. I saw a lot of tee shots that plugged."
Hinckley, 35, of Reynoldsburg, made birdie on all four of the par-5 holes. His only problem came on the 197-yard, par-3 sixth.
"I hit my tee shot into the water," he said. "It carries one foot more, and it would have run up to within three feet of the hole. But it was a bad shot that almost turned out good."
Hinckley shot an unofficial 62 at a course in Iowa last month during a practice round.
Varsey had five birdies and only one bogey -- on the 495-yard par-5 14th hole.
"I missed two greens all day, and that was one of them," said the 35-year-old from nearby Shaker Heights whose father, Jim, served as his caddie.
Hinckley had nine birdies and one bogey. He needed only one put on 10 of his first 11 holes -- most of them from less than 10 feet.
"The greens were very receptive," he said. "You could go for the pin with the soft conditions. They did a great job of setting up the course."
Sowards, of Columbus, who is scheduled to play in the PGA Championship in Wisconsin next week, agreed.
"These two courses are exceptional and a good test," he said. "The greens at Walden are a little trickier, but you have to keep it in play and use a variety of clubs."
The event was moved this summer from Tam O'Shanter Golf Course in Canton where it had been played the previous 15 years.
Players will alternate courses for the second round today, and the field will be cut to the top 60 and ties for the final round Wednesday, which will be played at Barrington.
Many all-time greats in golf have participated in the event, which was first held in 1924. Past champions include four-time winner Denny Shute (1929-31, 1950), three-time winner Byron Nelson (1940-42), two-time champ Herman Keiser (1949, 1951), Jack Nicklaus (1956), Tom Weiskopf (1965) and current PGA Tour player Jack Ferenz (1991).