The top 25 players in the 72-hole event will earn spot in the PGA Championship on Aug. 12-15 at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis.
Robert Thompson opened with a 68 on the Longaberger course, and Cary Hungate, Quinn Griffing, Bob Sowards and Heikke Nielsen had 69s. Tim Thelen, seeking a record-tying third title, shot a 72.
Small matched the course record set by Brad Westfall in the 2002 Northern PGA Club Professional Championship.
'This is only the first quarter of a game,' Small said. 'It gets you in position to come back tomorrow and play hard again. If this was a college tournament, I would tell (my players) to go back and study a little bit, don't be on the phone too long with the girlfriend and we'll be all right. I'll go back and chill out, have some dinner and hopefully the Cubs will be on TV.'