Love leads Georgia Amateur after opening-round 66
Dru Love
Dru Love

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — Dru Love of Sea Island fired a 4-under-par 66 in round one of the Georgia Amateur Championship to lead by one stroke after the first 18 holes. The 94th playing of the annual state championship is taking place on the Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club, July 9-12.

Love's round included an even-par front side of his home course with birdies on four and six, and a double-bogey on seven. Over the back nine holes, he made up for it with back-to-back birdies on 10 and 11. After a bogey on 13, an eagle came on the par 5, 565-yard 15th hole. He added a birdie on 17 en route to his 66 18-hole total.

"I got off to a good start; made a couple pars," said Love. "I'm looking forward to better conditions tomorrow with less wind and softer, cleaner greens. I'm ready to attack this golf course when it's calm."

Parker Derby of Columbus currently holds the second-place spot on the 18-hole summary. He finished round one at 3-under-par 67. A pair of players are two strokes back at 2-under-par 68, including David Kleckner of Johns Creek and Travis Williamson of Brunswick. Six players share scores of 1-under-par 69. Those competitors are Greyson Sigg of Augusta, winner of the 2011 Georgia Junior Championship, Joshua Cone of Thomasville, Adam Morris of Acworth, Luke Schniederjans of Powder Springs, Trevor Smith of Brunswick and Robert Mize of Columbus.

Mize serves as this week's defending champion after earning his first state championship last year at Idle Hour Club in Macon. He posted a 1-under-par 69 in round one of this year's Georgia Amateur, which puts him three back of the leader Love.

"This course is always in great shape and it's fair," said Mize.

According to Mize, the pressure one would feel with the added responsibility of being the defending champion simply is not there.

"There is no added pressure," he added. " It would be different if it was the same course, but it's completely different. It's a different tournament."

The only other past champion of this event in the field is David Noll, Jr., of Dalton, He owns two titles - in 2003 at Pinetree Country Club in Kennesaw and 2011 at Cherokee Town and Country Club in Atlanta. Noll finished round one at 5-over-par 75.

Due to severe weather in the area, the horns blew at 5:12 p.m., signaling the suspension of play. After a stoppage for 31 minutes, play was resumed.

ABOUT THE Georgia Amateur

A field of 144 of the state's best will compete over 72 holes of stroke play with the field cut to the low 70 and ties after 36 holes. Open to male amateur golfers; non-exempt players enter through one of 11 statewide qualifiers

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