After the first round of the Price Chopper Tour Championship, Sarah Brown boasted one of the more colorful scorecards. The 19-year-old turned in 31 after making four birdies on her front nine and immediately birdied the 10th to get to 5 under.
That’s where it got interesting.
Brown dropped a shot with a bogey at the 13th, then made double at the par-4 15th. She immediately righted the ship with a hole-in-one at 16, and cruised to a 4-under 66 at Capital Hills in Albany, N.Y., that left her tied for the lead with Jackie Barenborg.
Brown is from nearby Lopatcong, N.J., and is at the end of her first season as a professional. A win at Capital Hills would add a little different flavor to a resume that includes mostly junior accomplishments – quarterfinalist at the 2007 U.S. Girls’ Junior, two AJGA wins and Junior Ryder Cup and Junior Solheim Cup appearances. Brown made all but two cuts in her 14 Futures Tour starts this season, and recorded a career-best sixth finish at the Island Resort Championship.
Barenborg, a 2008 graduate of Florida Southern University, had a more steady round of 66, which included four birdies and no bogeys. The Vero Beach, Fla., native seems to have an instinct for ramping it up when it matters, having won low-pro honors at Futures Tour Qualifying School in 2010 (she finished runner-up to recent Wake Forest graduate Natalie Sheary).
Barenborg also stands 18th on the Futures Tour money list entering the Tour Championship. Finding her way to 10th at the end of the week would guarantee LPGA membership for 2012.
Four players trail Brown and Barenborg by a single shot: Lili Alvarez, Rachel Connor, Angela Buzminski and Tzu-Chi Lin. Lin is eighth on the money list after winning the season-opening Florida’s Natural Charity Classic.
Money list leader Kathleen Ekey shot a first-round 71 and is T-51.