Ty Tryon's days of chasing autographs are over. The 17-year-old amateur was signing them Thursday after shooting a seven-under-par 65 for a share of the lead in the B.C. Open at Endicott, N.Y.
"That's a little weird still," Tryon said.
Tryon was tied for the lead with Edward Fryatt in the $2-million tournament at the En-Joie Golf Club. Garrett Willis, Brad Fabel, Brian Watts, Mark Hensby and Jeff Hart opened with 66s, and 12 players were at 67.
In a mixed field of veterans, journeyman and hopefuls that failed to make it to the British Open, Tryon--entering his junior year of high school in Orlando, Fla.--stole the show with a nine-birdie performance.
"Doesn't really surprise me," said Fabel, 45. "They're all getting younger, longer and better. . . . And we're all getting older and shorter."
This is Tryon's second tour event. He qualified for the Honda Classic in March and tied for 39th, becoming the youngest player to make a cut since 15-year-old Bob Panasik did it at the 1957 Canadian Open.
Tryon got an exemption into the B.C. Open in part because his grandfather, William Tryon II, is a three-time New York State amateur champion who lives in nearby Elmira.
Tryon, gangly at 5 feet 11 and 165 pounds, said he felt more pressure answering reporters' questions, and in front of a gathering of his family and friends, than while playing.
"What else could I ask for?" said Tryon, who first picked up a club before he was 2 years old and wants to continue playing in college.
"I'm playing a pro tournament and all my family and friends are here. It's great. And I'm playing well," he said. "I'm pretty focused and stuff, but I just want to have a good time because not many 17-year-olds get this opportunity. So I just want to enjoy it too."
Fryatt said it could be tough playing against Tryon.
"He's got nothing to lose and he's going to be firing at it," said Fryatt, happy to be among the leaders after complaining of a mediocre start to the first half of his season.
"I've been just trying to hit the ball better recently," said Fryatt, who birdied all four par-five holes. "Today, we put it together, but obviously we've got plenty of rounds left."
Mike Sposa had a hole in one on the 190-yard fourth hole. He shot a 67.
Nancy Scranton capped a seven-under 64 with a 10-foot eagle putt and held a two-stroke lead over Michele Redman after the opening round of the LPGA Big Apple Classic at New Rochelle, N.Y.
Scranton's eagle on the 481-yard 18th at Wykagyl Country Club was only her second of the year and it came after she hit a blind three-wood from 240 yards.
"It's just a guess kind of where you're aiming, and the bounce it gets down there," she said. "It was a nice surprise to get down to the green and it was about 10 feet from the pin."
Three of Scranton's birdies came on putts of 20 feet or longer, including a 50-footer on the par-four 11th. The 64 matched her lowest career round, but that came on a par-72 course.
Hee-Won Han, a rookie from South Korea, closed her 67 with a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 9. Kris Tschetter, Wendy Ward, Mi Hyun Kim, Laura Diaz, Jenny Park-Choi and Betsy King had 68s on the 6,161-yard course.