David Payne shot a 4-under 68, and Justin Thomas finished at 69 to help put St. Xavier in the lead by two strokes after Friday's first round of the boys' state golf tournament at the Bowling Green Country Club.
Payne was alone in first place on the individual leader board after recording only one bogey during his round. Thomas, a sophomore who's led the Tigers all year, birdied two of his final three holes to finish in a three-way tie for second.
As expected, defending champion Marshall County joins St. X at the top of the standings, with the Marshals at 5-over and in second. They were led by senior Patrick Newcomb, who is in the group at 3-under along with Scott County's Kyle Wilshire.
Rounding out the top five in the team competition were Paul Dunbar, Lexington Christian and West Jessamine.
Dunbar's Zack Butler shot 1-under and is tied with two Marshals for fifth. Blanton Farmer of LCA went even par for a share of eighth place.
The final round starts Saturday at 8 a.m. CDT.