Long Anderson Share Lead


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Michael Long and Chris Anderson each posted rounds of 9-under-par 63 on Thursday to tie the course record and grab a share of the lead after the opening round of the Chattanooga Classic at Black Creek Club.
Kelly Gibson was joined in a share of third place by Elliot Gealy at 7-under-par 65. Aaron Barber, John Connelly, Vance Veazey, Chris Zambri, Keith Nolan, Scott Gutschewski and Matthew Jones are one stroke further back at minus-6.
Long was hot throughout his opening round, which he started on the back nine. Starting with No. 10, he birdied every other hole of his opening nine to head to the front side at minus-5.
At the first, Long made it back-to-back birdies when he drained a 15-footer. The two-time winner on the Nationwide Tour converted two straight birdies from the third to get to 8 under.
Long two-putted for his final birdie at the par-5 sixth to get to 9 under. He parred in to tie the course record, which was set last year by Bart Bryant.
'Obviously 5 under on the back nine was pretty solid,' said Long, who hit all 14 fairways. 'I definitely putted really, really well. I played just about as well as I can. The scores will go so deep this week it is going to be quite scary.'
Anderson also opened his round on the second nine at Black Creek. He got going with an 8-foot birdie on the par-3 11th. He took advantage of the back nine par-5s, Nos. 14 and 18, as he birdied both to head to the front at minus-3.
On the front, Anderson caught fire. He dropped a 9-iron within 2 feet for birdie at the par-4 second and came right back to birdie the third. The 33-year-old made it three straight when he birdied the par-5 fourth.
Anderson was not done there. He birdied the fifth and capped a run of five straight birdies with a two-putt birdie at the sixth that got him to 8 under.
Anderson joined Long in the lead, and tied the course record, when he dropped in an 18-footer for birdie at the par-4 eighth.
'It was a pretty good start,' said Anderson. 'It all seemed easy, as it often does when you shoot 9 under. Course records are always fun.'
Franklin Langham and Gavin Coles, a pair of two-time Nationwide Tour winners, lead a group of 17 players at 5-under-par 67.
Ryuji Imada, who won last week's Charity Pro-AM at The Cliffs, stands at 3-under-par 69.
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