Four Share Lead at Suspended Knoxville Open


FARRAGUT, Tenn. -- Todd Fischer, Todd Barranger, Chris Tidland and Curt Byrum each posted rounds of 5-under-par 67 Thursday to share the lead at the Knoxville Open at Fox Den Country Club.
Afternoon thunderstorms delayed play for almost two hours and darkness brought the round to a halt. The 30 players still on the course when play was suspended will return to the course Friday morning to complete their first rounds.
Patrick Moore, already a two-time winner who needs one victory to earn an promotion to the PGA Tour, shot a 4-under 68 to finish in fifth place with Sonny Skinner, Scott Sterling, Tommy Biershenk and Arron Oberholser. Daniel Chopra was 4-under through 16 holes while Chris Wollmann was 4-under through 14.
Fischer collected five birdies and one bogey Thursday with his longest birdie putt from only 12 feet. The 67 might have been a surprising score for Fischer considering he only hit six of 14 fairways.
'I really struggled off the tee today, but I putted really well,' said Fischer, who finished second at the Charity Pro-Am at The Cliffs in April. 'This course is getting firmer so that is going to make scoring even tougher.'
Barranger may have the biggest advantage of the leaders since he was formerly a professional at Fox Den.
'Course knowledge is so important out here,' said Barranger, who closed his round with a two-foot birdie on 18. 'It means so much to be in a friendly environment and knowing which way the greens are going to break.'
Tidland spread out his scoring Thursday. After opening with an eagle and a birdie, he bogeyed four of his next six holes then holed a clutch 10-foot par save at the ninth to save himself from further disaster.
He birdied three in a row starting at the 10th and did it again from 15-17 to grab his share of the top spot.
'You don't want to put yourself behind the eight ball after the first round,' said Tidland. 'You want to get off to a good start and I did that, despite what you could call a wild round.'
Byrum got to three-under on his front nine but closed with two birdies and seven pars for his 67.
Eleven players were in the clubhouse at three-under par, with two more at the same score still on the course.