Patrick Newcomb took the first step toward successfully defending his Kentucky State Amateur golf title by firing a 3-under par 68 in Tuesday's opening round at The Cardinal Club in Simpsonville.
Newcomb, who just finished his junior year at Murray State where he earned all-Ohio Valley Conference honors, eagled the par-4 sixth hole to highlight his day.
Newcomb won the 100th State Am at Kearney Hill Links last year.
Three other players with college experience — Jared Flanery (Morehead State), Tyler Mitchell (UNC-Charlotte) and Taylor Riggs (EKU) — also shot 68s on Tuesday.
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Former Lexington Christian Academy golfers Hunter Frazier and Hunter Stewart opened with 69s, as did Tyler McDaniel, who earned Mr. Golf honors after his freshman season at Clay County last fall. McDaniel had an eagle on the par-4 ninth.
Tyler Sharpe of Greensburg, who won the State Am in 2008, carded a 70, along with UK golfer Joseph Barr.
Danny Bishop and Hays Featherton of Lexington each shot 71s.
The 54-hole tournament continues today and concludes on Thursday.