Nine-time Pot o’ Gold Pro-am winner Stephen Keppler of Marietta Country Club has his team sitting pretty after the first round of this year’s tournament, which opened on Friday at Sunset Country Club.
The Marietta foursome shot a 12-under 60 and is tied with the 2010 Pot o’ Gold champion Wynlakes Golf and Country Club team led by Steve Cutler.
Two teams are one shot back and four others are two back.
In a group teams four shots back is the Sunset Country Club Black team that includes amateurs Ernie Venet, Aaron Elrod and Jonathan Bridges.
Neither Venet nor Bridges broke par, but Elrod made up for it with a 5-under 67.
The former Colquitt County, Darton College and Armstrong Atlantic player opened with a 35 on the first nine and finished with 32 that has him sharing low amateur honors with Marietta Country Club’s Michael Raines.
Sunset’s Gold team shot a 65. Kevin Blanton and Casey Willis each had a 2-under 70. Greg Coop turned in a 78. Sunset pro Bob Windom’s 2-under 70 counted for both of his teams.
And even though his two teams are four and five shots off the lead, Windom knows there is plenty of golf to play over the next two days.
“Oh, we’re not out of it,” Windom said.
Venet said the Black team can play better.
“We just need to ham-and-egg it better,” said Venet. “And I need to help a little more.
“This is a good group of guys. We’ve just got to make some putts. That’s the name of the game.”
Keppler helped put his team in the lead by firing a 69. His amateurs, Michael Raines, Hap Fleming and Chris Hall, shot 67, 77 and 74 respectively.
Cutler’s foursome includes Emile Vaughn, Jeff Taylor and Jeff Dunn.
At 11-under are the teams led by Fred Holton of Arrowhead Country Club of Montgomery, Ala., and Phil Taylor of Ansley Golf club.
Kevin Durkin is the low professional after the first round after a fine 31-32 for a 63. Durkin leads the team from Horseshoe Bend Country in Marietta.
Six shots back are Holton, Keppler, former Packer Andy Blanton of Green Island and Ben Schwaderer of Mirror Lake.
Reigning Georgia Amateur champion David Noll Jr., playing for Pete Webster’s Calhoun Golf and Country Club foursome, turned in a 1-under 71.