FLEETWOOD, Pa. (Sept. 15, 2014) — Helped by a hole out for eagle on the 14th hole, Rodney James of Golden Oaks Golf Club fired a 66 (-4) for the lead after the first round of the 21st Pennsylvania Middle-Amateur Championship, presented by Allegheny Health Network, at Moselem Springs Golf Club.
"It was a pretty simple round," James said. "I hit a lot of greens and two-putted a lot."
After a bogey on the par-3 third hole, James closed the front nine with a trio of birdies to make the turn at 2-under. On the par-5 seventh hole, James hit his approach to about six inches away before tapping in for birdie. He followed that up by rolling in a 25-foot birdie putt on the 8th hole, and then a 10-footer for his third straight birdie to close out the front nine.
After four pars to begin his back nine, James then had the shot of the day on the 14th hole. From 127 yards out, he hit a pitching wedge that landed about three feet short before disappearing.
"We figured it must have been good because we couldn't see it when we were walking up," James said. "I was lucky enough to hole it out."
In second place after the first round is Zach Fischl of Allentown Municipal Golf Club, who had just one bogey against three birdies for a first round 67, putting him one shot back of James.
"I hit it good pretty much tee to green today," Fischl said. "My only bogey was the three-putt on the first hole. It was a relief to play well after hitting it all over the place at the Amateur Championship."
In third place, two shots back of the lead, is Jack Wallace of the Philadelphia Cricket Club, who won the event in 2012. Wallace a 2-under 68 on the afternoon.
Four players each shot 69 (-1) - St. Clair Country Club's David Brown, Philadelphia Cricket Club's Marc Mandel, Diamond Run Golf Club's Rick Stimmel and LedgeRock Golf Club's Grant Skyllas.
The venerable George Fazio designed course played tough throughout the day, as evidenced by the stroke average of 75.3 on the par-70 track. The 36-hole championship concludes with tomorrow's final round.
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