Gibson Leads Stadlers Close Behind

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ENDICOTT, N.Y. -- Kelly Gibson fired an 8-under-par 64 on Thursday to grab a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the B.C. Open. It is the first time since the 1992 Buick Southern Open that Gibson has held the lead after the first round.
 
Kevin Stadler, a two-time winner on the Nationwide Tour who is playing on a sponsor's exemption, posted a 7-under-par 65. John E. Morgan, who lost a playoff to Mark Hensby last week, joined Stadler, Todd Fischer and Camilo Villegas in second place.
 
Craig Stadler, Kevin's father and the defending champion, opened with a 5-under-par 67, where he stands in a tie for 10th.
 
Gibson got off to a hot start. He stuck a 9-iron 4 feet from the hole at the first to set up birdie. He came right back with a 12-foot birdie putt at the second.
 
The 40-year-old pitched his third within a foot of the cup at the third to cap a run of three straight birdies to open his round. Gibson drained a 12-footer for birdie on No. 5 at En-Joie Golf Club.
 
'I got out of the box extremely fast,' Gibson said. 'Tough conditions out there. It was hot then cold, a goofy back and forth.'
 
Gibson came right back to birdie the sixth to quickly get to 5 under. He rolled in a 40-foot birdie putt at the eighth, before dropping a stroke at the par-4 10th.
 
The two-time winner on the Nationwide Tour came right back to birdie the 11th and two-putt for birdie at 12 to get to minus-7. Gibson knocked a 5-iron 4 feet from the hole at the 14th. Gibson drained the putt for birdie, then parred his final four holes to hold on to the first-round lead.
 
'I was very fortunate to get round in, I've been on the wrong side of weather delays all year,' said Gibson, who weathered a brief delay during his round. 'I don't like to start and stop, I was very fortunate today.'
 
Kevin Stadler began his round on the 10th tee and birdied two of his first three holes. He moved to 3 under with a birdie at the par-4 15th. After parring five straight holes, he drained three consecutive birdies from the third to get to 6 under.
 
Stadler, who won the Lake Erie Charity Classic and Scholarship America Showdown on the Nationwide Tour, joined the crowd in second place with a birdie at the eighth.
 
Morgan, who nearly gained entry into the British Open last week, but lost in a playoff, opened on the back nine with one birdie and one bogey over his first nine holes. On the front side, he birdied the first three holes. Morgan came right back to birdie five and six, before back-to-back birdies from the par-5 eighth.
 
Fischer picked up five birdies and an eagle over his bogey-free round of 65.
 
Villegas birdied 14 and 15, before an eagle on 16 moved him to minus-4. After birdies at 17 and 18, he bogeyed the first. Villegas birdied the third, then bogeyed the fourth. He then eagled the fifth, but faltered to another bogey at the seventh. He closed with a birdie on the par-5 seventh.
 
'It was fun out there, I got it going,' said Villegas. 'I did not realize I shot 29 on my first nine. It was fun. First time I shot 7 under on PGA Tour. I did a good job controlling my emotions.'
 
Brenden Pappas, Brett Quigley, Roland Thatcher and Garrett Willis share sixth place at 6-under-par 66.
 
Craig Stadler spread four birdies and two bogeys over his first nine. Around on the front nine, he carded two birdies, an eagle and a bogey to post a 67. He is joined there by Tommy Tolles, Tom Carter, Lucas Glover, Mike Heinen, Gabriel Hjertstedt, Neal Lancaster, Jim Benepe, Jason Bohn, Olin Browne and Jonathan Byrd.
 
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