On a perfect day for golf, Jeff Hull was nearly flawless.
Hull made nine birdies and one eagle to finish with a 27-hole score of 99 (9-under par) and take a two stroke lead over Russ Davis and Kyle Owen after Monday’s first round of the Chicopee Woods Players Championship.
With the three lowest scores on Day 1, Hull, Davis and Owen will tee off at 10:30 this morning as the final group of the tournament.
"The course was set up real good, and the greens were set up well too," said Hull, whose only mistake of the day was a double bogey on No. 7 of the Mill Course.
Prior to the double-bogey on the second nine, Hull was virtually unstoppable.
Starting on the Village course, the Watkinsville resident birdied four of the first six holes he played.
After three consecutive pars to finish the first nine, Hull began the Mill Course just as he did the Village, with four birdies on the first six holes.
"Jeff has really found his game," said Greg Lee, who finished the first round with a 5-under 103 to put him four strokes back of the leader. "He’s consistent and has a real confidence in his game."
It was that confidence in his game that allowed Hull to shake off the double bogey and make a birdie on the following hole.
"I could’ve played better, but I’ll take it," Hull said.
Lee, who is Hull’s neighbor, will have a close eye on his friend as he will be playing in the next-to-last group in today’s final round.
Sonny Skinner and Seth McCain will join Lee, and the threesome will tee off at 10:20 this morning.
"I thought I played a pretty good round," said Lee, a PGA professional at Chicopee Woods. "I’m pretty comfortable with every spot on this golf course.
"The pins were placed in positions I am not normally used to, so I don’t have as big of an edge as I would like."
The edge he did have allowed Lee to make eight birdies and an eagle during his opening round, but he followed a double bogey on the par-3 No. 5 on the Mill Course with a bogey on the 419-yard par-4 No. 6 hole that put him at 2-under par for the tournament.
Lee was able to get to 5-under with three consecutive birdies on No. 2, 3 and 4 of the Village course, his final nine of the day.
"After those three in a row I went on a real dry spell," Lee said. "Chicopee Woods gives you a lot of opportunities, but you have to convert them.
"I think I have a good chance (today)," he added. "It’s hard to play without mistakes, but if I cut those mistakes in half then I think I’ll be able to get to 14 or 15-under for the tournament."
Lee believes that a score of 14 or 15-under could win the championship, but with the way Hull played on Monday that may not be the case.
Just don’t go handing the trophy to Hull quite yet.
"It’s nice to put up a good number early and hopefully I can do the same (today)," Hull said. "But there’s a lot of golf left and a lot of good players in this field."