Chris Wolfe didn’t have much of anything to complain about Thursday, except for the cold.
The National Golf Association Tour player from Warner Robins used a 4-under over a three-hole stretch — birdie, birdie, eagle — to grab a share of the lead at 3-under 69 in the opening round of the NGA Tour’s Milton Martin Honda Classic at the Chattahoochee Golf Club in Gainesville.
“My ball striking was excellent and on the back nine I caught fire with my putter,” he said. “I couldn’t ask for a better day besides the cold weather.”
He was one of the afternoon players lucky enough to get through the full 18 holes in time. Play was suspended at 7:48 p.m. due to darkness after a late start time in the morning due to cold weather conditions.
The temperature was in the low 40s by the time Wolfe’s group got off the course, and the scores reflected the less-than-ideal weather, which included wind gusts much of the day. Just nine players finished the first round under par, including five from the morning group.
Will McCurdy and ex-pro soccer player Stephen Grant, who went off with the morning group, also shot 69s for a share of the lead going into Round 2. Play begins at 8 a.m. today, 15 minutes after the remaining Round 1 players — about a third of the overall field — tee off to finish where they left off.
Today’s high is expected to be in the low 50s with afternoon showers, yet another chance for bad weather for an event that has been plagued by it in the last few years. The event was cancelled last season due to rain and players were only able to get in 38 holes, the minimum for an official tournament, the year before.
Wolfe, who played his college ball at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, where he now lives, played in each of the last two tournaments at Chattahoochee and said he didn’t remember the course being as tricky. He did mention the greens being hard due to the weather, making it that more crucial to hit the right part of the green or suffer a possible three-put.
The weather made everything a bit trickier, something that Oklahoma native Trent Whitekiller, one of three players to finish one back with a 2-under 70, didn’t mind.
“I’m just trying to take advantage of the tough conditions,” he said. “I’m used to this; I went to Oklahoma State and we had to deal with this weather every year.”
The rookie was joined by Chas Narramore and Daniel McCarthy at 2-under. Seth Fair, Will Mitchell and Kent Bulle finished with 1-under 71s.