Edmonton, AB (ISN) – Scott Harrington and Ryan Williams took advantage of calm conditions and soft greens at Windermere Golf & Country Club Thursday, shooting seven-under 64s and grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the ATB Financial Classic presented by TELUS.
Williams teed off on the back and fired a five-under 30 on his second nine to finish with a 64, making birdie on four of his final six holes to tie for top spot, while Harrington did most of his damage early, going out in six-under 29 and getting to nine-under through 13 holes before making two bogeys on Windermere’s challenging final stretch.
“I hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens and had a lot of good looks for birdie. I made a lot of putts,” said Williams, a native of Vancouver, BC who has three top-five finishes on the Canadian Tour to his credit. “The course sets up for a slight fade off the tee, which is my preferred shot to hit.”
Harrington, a former Nationwide and Challenge Tour player, credited his play on the par fives and wedge game for his fast start.
“I birdied three of my first four and made a couple of two-putt birdies, which really go my round off to a nice start,” said Harrington. “I was able to hit the ball close with a wedge in my hand a few times.”
Defending champion Hugo Leon got his title defence off to a solid start, making eight birdies and two bogeys for a six-under 65, good for a tie for third place.
“I made some good putts, hit some good iron shots and kept the ball in play. It was a very good overall performance for me today,” said Leon, a 27-year old native of Chile. Leon won last year’s event at Bearspaw Golf Club in Calgary, AB.
Leon’s round was matched by Burlington, ON’s Michael Gligic, whose 65 was the best score of the afternoon draw. Gligic eagled the par-5 11th and birdied three of his final four holes for
“I hit the ball really well today. I kept the ball in play and hit a lot of greens, so it was a relatively stress-free round,” said Gligic, who missed just one green and three fairways on the day.
The shot of the day came on the par-3 15th, when Chan Song aced the 15th using a 5-iron from 2012 yards.
A handful of local players dotted the leaderboard, led by Windermere member Steven Lecuyer at 67 (-4). Other scores included Danny Sahl at 68 (-3) and 18-year old Wilson Bateman at 69 (-2).