With three holes remaining in the first round of the City Men’s Golf tournament on Thursday, defending champion Brian Lee was looking for the rewind button.
Lee, the 2013 champion, finished the day at Woodcreek Golf Club with a score of 77, five strokes over par and nine shots off the lead.
The day had a promising start as Lee, paired with Tom Kennaday and pro Rohan Allwood, started strong from the par-4 10th tee.
“I came out and just tried to be patient early, and I started off with three birdies in a row,” Lee said. He deftly worked the 507-yard, dog-legged No. 14 hole, putting for birdie to go to four-under par.
His plan was working out to a T.
But on the 17th hole, a par-5 challenge with a deep green nestled into a sandtrap, Lee hit two balls out of play and used nine shots.
“That brought me back even, and I could just never get my swing back after that,” he said. “It was definitely tough mentally; I gave back everything that I had worked so hard for.”
Lee finished the back nine at 37, and was still at one-over with six holes left to play. He skirted the water hazard on the No. 4 hole, but was hampered by a sand trap and wound up with his first of four bogeys.
“There’s a lot of trouble out there,” Lee said.
But he is hoping to conquer troubles with back pain to improve his standing, and was optimistic that he could move to the head of the pack.
“I’d like to start off tomorrow the way I did today and finish the same,” Lee said. “I feel like I’ve got a low round in me, it just didn’t happen for me today.”
Wofford star and former SCISA All-star Brannan Hudson carried the day with a four-under 68, to lead the amateur field. Chase Fisher and Robert Dargan each shot 70.
The second round of the three-day tournament begins at 8 a.m., with leaders Hudson, Fisher and Dargan teeing off at 1 p.m. and Lee’s group starting at 1:30.