McElvey grabs early lead at Golfweek Amateur

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – The 2013 Golfweek Amateur Tour Championship presented by Edwin Watts kicked off Friday amid perfect weather conditions as well as some near-flawless play by Zach McElvey.

McElvey, of Upstate, S.C., grabbed the first-round Championship Flight lead with a 6-under-par 66, one shot better than the pair of Charlotte, N.C. residents Jim Aughtry and Joe Jaspers. The three stalwarts will play together at the Robert Cupp Course in an 8:15 a.m. shotgun start.

Steve Reigle, of Nashville, Tenn., sits alone in fourth place following an opening-round 68 and he’ll be paired Saturday with Charlotte’s Billy Hall and David Schmidt, and Tidewater, Va.’s Trae Kresinske who all shot 69.

Defending champion Christian Vozza, of Orlando, Fla., finds himself five shots off the lead following an opening-round 71.

In the A Flight, Keith Carter and Kevin Dick each shot 72 to create a little separation between them and the rest of the field. The two find themselves three shots clear of a quartet of players heading into Saturday’s second round at the Country Club of Hilton Head.

Chris Hadley, Brian Layne, Billy Loftin and Dustin Welch are all tied for third place after firing 75 while David Weigand sits alone in seventh following a round of 76.

Hadley and Layne will be paired with the leaders for Saturday’s 8:15 a.m. shotgun start while Loftin, Welch and Weigand will play in the same group along with Jon Blum, who shot 77.

The boys from Tidewater took over the B Flight on the first day as Sean Redmond and Lyle Joyner grabbed the early lead. Residents of Tidewater, Va., Redmond opened with a 77 while Joyner came in at 78 to come in alone in first and second place, respectively.

Redmond and Joyner will be paired together for Saturday’s second round along with Jamy Gillan and Nick Slager, both who shot 79 and share third place. A pair of Charleston, S.C. residents, Tim Sumption and Mason Talley, fired 80 in the opening round to share fifth place.

The C Flight enjoyed a midwestern flavor as Chicago’s Andrew Ciszczon grabbed the early lead with a first-round 80. That spotted him a 3-shot lead over Columbus, Ohio’s Dave Parish.

Ciszczon and Parish will play with a pair of southerners for Saturday’s second round at Shipyard Golf Club. Floridian Thomas Saskowski and Mississippian James Watkins both shot 86 to share third place and will be chasing the leaders.

Seven shots off the lead is the trio of Jason Fair, Robert Lang, Sr. and John Strickland.

Tidewater’s Chris Spanka grabbed the early lead in the D Flight with an opening-round 89, putting him one shot in front of Tom Haddad and Kurt Reichert. The three will play together in Saturday’s second round at Robber’s Row along with Jimmy Bryson who fired a 91.

Tied for fourth place with Bryson are four other players who will highlight the group following the leaders: Neil Burkhardt, Bruce Jourdan, Kelly Minton and Duane Wandel.

In all, over 500 players from around the country teed it up for the championship, which will cover 54 holes of stroke play over three days.

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