CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Day one of the Chattanooga Choo Choo Invitational is in the books at Council Fire Golf Course, and there are three players tied atop the leaderboard after 18 holes.
University of Tennessee junior and Knoxville native Jack Smith had an opening round that featured an incredible start in which the first five holes were circled on the scorecard. Though Smith went even in his remaining 13 holes, which were dotted with three bogeys and three birdies.
University of Tennessee-Martin sophomore Hunter Richardson is also in at 67, making four birdies in his last eight holes to post 32 on the back nine. The native of Clarksville, Tenn. did not make a bogey on Monday.
Rounding out the leaders is Chattanooga native Taylor Lewis. He birdied three of his first seven holes before making a double bogey at the ninth. But a stellar back-nine — a 32 which included two birdies and an eagle — helped him climb to five-under.
Twenty-seven players are even-par or better through the first round, including nine that are within two shots of the lead.
Defending champion Matthew Mahle of the College of Charleston struggled during the first round, posting 82.
The 54-hole tournament concludes Wednesday.