(Reuters) – Zac Blair made a late eagle and birdied the last hole to join a three-way tie for the lead in the weather-interrupted first round of the Barbasol Championship in Auburn/Opelika, Alabama on Thursday.
Blair was tied with fellow Americans Martin Flores and Cameron Tringale on six-under-par 65, far from the limelight cast on the players competing at the British Open this week at Royal Birkdale.
An afternoon thunderstorm halted play for nearly two hours in Alabama with 27 players yet to complete the first round because of failing light at Grand National.
The leading trio are all looking for their first victories on the PGA Tour.
Blair, who began the round at the 10th, eagled the par-five fifth hole and then with light fading he rolled in a 17-foot birdie putt on his last hole to complete a bogey-free round.
Flores reeled off six birdies and had no bogeys in his 65.
Tringale, who hit 12 of 14 fairways, birdied four of his last six holes. He had seven birdies in total, including a 59-foot bomb at the ninth hole against one bogey.
Fast starts, however, have not led to success here.
In both of the first two years of the Barbasol Championship, the eventual champions Scott Piercy in 2015 and Australian Aaron Baddeley in 2016 were five back after the first round.
Making just his third start of the season, Australian Robert Allenby opened with a five-under 66, his lowest score under par on the tour since 2014.
Allenby, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, is in search of his first title since 2001. He made just two cuts in 23 starts last season.
Rick Lamb, who last week finished tied for third at the John Deere Classic, opened with a four-under 67.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Ian Ransom)