Phil Tataurangis ace leads by 62 and lead in Arkansas


Nationwide TourFT. SMITH, Ark. ' Phil Tataurangi fired a slump-busting, 8-under 62, that included a hole-in-one, Thursday to grab a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the Fort Smith Classic.
Tataurangi, who has won once on the PGA Tour and once on the Nationwide Tour, has missed his last nine cuts, eight on the Nationwide Tour and one on the PGA Tour.
'I've had a stretch of playing poorly and I've just been chipping away at it and chipping away at it, and the last three or four weeks I feel like I've been getting a bit closer,' said Tataurangi. 'Last Friday I shot 6 under in Knoxville, but it didn't end up being good enough to play the weekend, but it was something to build on. Starting out today I felt like I had a little bit of momentum going from last week.'
Gavin Coles, a four-time winner on the Nationwide Tour, posted a 7-under 63 and is alone in second place. Andrew Johnson, Jason Enloe and Tee McCabe share third place at minus-6 at Hardscrabble Country Club.
Tataurangi got off to a hot start with a birdie on the first. He parred the second, but then poured in three straight birdies from the third to jump to minus-4.
The New Zealand native birdied the par-4 seventh and followed with an ace on the par-3 eighth. The hole-in-one moved him to minus-7.
He birdied the 10th, but gave that stroke back with a bogey on No. 12.
Tataurangi bounced right back as he birdied the 13th to get back to minus-8. With five holes remaining, Tataurangi had a chance to shoot 59, but he parred all five to lead by one.
'When it's your day it doesn't matter what golf course or where you're playing,' Tataurangi said. 'When it's your day you just want to get out of the way and make as many as you can and add them up at the end.'
The 62 was Tataurangi's best round since he posted the same score in 2002 at the PGA Tour's Invensys Classic in Las Vegas.
'That was as good as it's been in a long, long time,' admitted Tataurangi, who carded just his fourth round in the 60s this season. 'Like about seven years or something.'
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