Todd Barranger, an obscure winless rookie, matched his low round of the year with a seven-under-par 65 Thursday to take a one-shot lead in the opening round of the Buick Southern Open in Pine Mountain, Ga.
Barranger, a graduate of the 1993 tour qualifying school, held his lead over Australian Steve Elkington, Steve Lamontagne and Jim McGovern, who had two eagles.
Barranger birdied two of the first three holes when his approach shots hit the pin, stopping two feet shy on No. 1 and one foot on No. 3.
“It was a great way to start the day and it just kind of continued throughout the day,” he said.
Acknowledging his obscurity, Barranger said, “I don’t really expect people to know who I am, but hopefully by Sunday they’ll know who I am quite well.”
Tied at 67 were New England Classic winner Kenny Perry, Mike Donald, Stan Utley, Mike Brisky and Canadian Richard Zokol.
Paul Azinger, who missed most of the season because of lymphoma in his right shoulder, shot a 71 in his first competitive round since the PGA Championship.
Defending Southern Open champion John Inman shot a 73.
Pearl Sinn, a non-winner in four years on the LPGA tour, birdied seven holes in putting together a five-under-par 67 for a two-stroke lead in the first round of the Heartland Classic in St. Louis.
Sinn, from UCLA, led a parade of little-known golfers at the top of the leader board. Nancy Harvey, 113th in earnings, and Lenore Rittenhouse (145th) were at 69 along with Meg Mallon.
Liselotte Neumann, Jane Geddes, Susan Thielbar and Janet Anderson were at 70.
A course-record 68 by U.S. Amateur champion Wendy Ward powered the United States into a two-stroke lead at the Women’s World Amateur Championships in Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines, France.
Sarah Ingram of Nashville, Tenn., shot a 73 as the Americans finished the 36 holes at six-under-par 282.
Carrie Webb, a 19-year-old Australian, matched Ward’s record 68 and led her team into second place.