Cuzzort Shares Lead in Pro Debut


BRIMLEY, Mich. -- Jeff Cuzzort, who is making his professional debut, fired a 6-under-par 66 on Thursday to grab a share of the lead after the first round of the Bay Mills Open Players Championship. Cuzzort shares the lead with Dirk Ayers.
Steve Scott, Chris Greenwood, Wes Heffernan and Chris Locker share third place at 3-under-par 69.
Cuzzort opened his round on the back nine at Wild Bluff Golf Course. He got off to a hot start with back-to-back birdies from the 11th. He stumbled to a bogey at the 15th, but came back to birdie the 17th and 18th.
Around the turn, Cuzzort dropped in birdies at the second, fifth and seventh to climb into a share of the lead at minus-6.
'I was nervous all day long. I couldn't have imagined a better start in my first pro event,' said the 19-year-old Cuzzort. 'It's your first tournament, and you want to put on a good show. My goal was to come in here and make the cut. I guess now those expectations are a little higher.'
Ayers got off to a poor start as he bogeyed the first. After six straight pars, the Penn State graduate turned it on. He drained consecutive birdies from the eighth and moved to minus-3 as he birdied the par-5 11th.
Ayers, who shared second place earlier this year at the Lewis Chitengwa Memorial, dropped in birdies at the 14th and 15th. He closed in style as he birdied the final two holes to post a 66.
'That 15th hole, I felt I made up at least a stroke on the rest of the field,' said Ayers. 'I didn't hit a lot of fairways and greens, but made the putts when I needed to. I am a terrible Thursday player, so this is a bonus. When the wind is up here, 73 or 74 is a great score. I am thrilled.'
Rob Oppenheim and Scott Hawley share seventh place at 2-under-par 70. Brad Sutterfield and Craig Scott lead a group of 17 players at minus-1.
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