TAMPA, FL (February 23, 2017) -- Day one of the Gasparilla Invitational is in the books and leading the way is Matthew Latham. During Thursday's first round Latham turned in a bogey-free 3-under 67 and he leads a group of three at 2-under that includes defending champion Nicholas Mullhaupt.
With the field split into two shotgun starts at Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club Latham, a second year Volunteer Assistant Coach at St. Andrews University, rolled in consecutive birdies on the second and third holes before birdieing the 18th hole.
Going off early was 2016 champion Nicholas Mullhaupt and he helped set the early pace with five birdies and three bogeys. The first round birdies for Mullhaupt came on the first, fifth, seventh, eighth and 14th holes.
Joining Mullhaupt in second place are Cameron Tennant and Brendon Ehlers.
Tennant, who reached last years U.S. Mid-Amateurs Round of 32, was able to overcome a double-bogey and two bogeys with six birdies to secure his spot one shot off the lead.
For Ehlers, the third member of the second place group, it was a three birdie, one bogey round.
The day one top-five is rounded out by the looming Jimmy Jones Sr. During the first round Jones Sr. turned in a Thursday 1-under 69 and he is just two off the pace. Jones Sr. is the final of just five players under-par after play on Thursday.
The low senior after the first round is Steve Hudson following an even-par 70. Hudson, tied for sixth place overall, birdied four times and bogeyed four times.
Roy Hunter is one behind after a 1-over 71 while five others are a stroke further back at 2-over.
Reigning senior champion Jack Hall struggled in the first round and at 9-over is well off the pace