ATLANTA, Ga. (June 26, 2013) -- As a high school sophomore, Ben Griffin of Chapel Hill, N.C. challenged a group of golfers from the University of North Carolina golf team to a match.
He beat two of them but fell to the Tarheels' then-No. 1 golfer. While two-out-of-three 'ain't' bad, he was complete in his efforts Wednesday.
Griffin, Golfweek's 14th-ranked junior who'll enter his senior year of high school in the fall, fired a red-hot 11-under 61 to lead all players after the first round of action at the 2013 Dogwood Invitational at Druid Hills Golf Club.
Griffin verbally committed to the Tarheels last winter and he's getting practice against the nation's best collegians this week. Thursday, he'll sit atop the leaderboard by two shots.
In second place is Georgia Tech's Oliver Schniederjans, who broke out for a 9-under 63 to begin play. Davin White and Michael Johnson are at 8-under while Alabama's Tom Lovelady, Anthony Maccaglia and Thomas Sutton are four back at 7-under and tied for fifth.
They're all chasing Griffin, who simply went off today. He went out in 31 thanks to three birdies and an eagle three on the par-5 ninth hole. On the back, he birdied six of the last seven holes for a 30.
The Dogwood Invitational began in 1941 and is a 72-hole event featuring a cut to the low 40 and ties after 54 holes.
The field annually features some of the top collegians and rising juniors from across the country. Notable scores from the first round include: No. 5 junior Brad Dalke (3-under, T18), Porter Cup winner Richy Werenski of Georgia Tech (3-under, T18), Texas A&M signee Mickey Werenski (2-under, T23), No. 1 junior and Alabama commit Robby Shelton (2-under, T23), Big East Champion Chase Koepka (1-under, T33), North & South champion Peter Williamson (1-under, T33).