PROVO — Tony Finau fired an impressive 8-under par 64 to take the first-round lead in the 73rd Provo Open at East Bay Golf Course Friday.
Finau, a late entry this week, took advantage of soft greens and no wind in the morning to carve his way atop the leaderboard, one-stroke ahead of Michael May and low amateur Adam Tebbs, who just finished his eligibility at BYU. The 54-hole tournament resumes Saturday and concludes Sunday.
Finau, a two-time winner on the National Golf Tour this year, birdied holes 1, 4, 5, 8 and 9 on the front and registered back-nine birdies on 11, 12, 13, 15 and 16 on the back. The Lehi resident attacked East Bay's five par-5s in textbook fashion, going 5-under on the course's longest tests.
Two shots behind Finau are professionals Casey Fowles and Pete Stone with 66s. Amateur Nick Drost and professionals Chris Moody and Jed Hilton are three strokes back at 67.
Four shots back, but playing most of his round in what some called a "monster" wind in the afternoon, defending Utah Open Champion Clay Ogden fired a four-under 68. Ogden finished the afternoon in conditions that pushed tee shots into other fairways and ponds for many in the field late afternoon.
Amateur Josh Fisher tied Ogden with a 68.
"I feel good about my round considering how I started," said Ogden. He hit his tee shot on the 527-yard par-5 No. 1 just five feet from his target across the pond but could not find his ball and had to reload and made bogey. He had a sand wedge into No. 2 and ended up with another bogey and had to settle for a par on the shortest par-5 hole on the course, the 507-yard No. 12.
"That felt like a bogey, for sure," said Ogden.
"The wind came put about my fourth hole. It dried things out because when the greens were soft early, I was spun back approach shots 12 to 16 feet, then they stopped spinning."
Ogden will get the early start Saturday while Finau and May have afternoon start times. "It doesn't make a difference, unless the wind blows like it did today in the afternoon," said Ogden.
Gipper Finau and Nick Nelson shot 69s and Zach Johnson, the assistant professional at Davis Park, made an ace in the windy afternoon on the 170-yard par-3. He finished his round at one-under 71.