Leading a group of five players one stroke back at minus-6 is defending champion Scott Gump. Gump was joined by Wichita Open winner Joe Daley, Danny Ellis, Brian Henninger and Tom Johnson.
Mallinger opened with a birdie on No. 1 and came back two holes later with an eagle on the par-5 third. He parred his next four holes at Hillcrest Country Club. Mallinger got to minus-4 with a birdie on the eighth.
He then eagled the 359-yard 10th hole. Mallinger, however, tripped to a bogey at the par-4 11th. After three straight pars, he recovered that lost stroke with a birdie on the par-4 15th. Mallinger moved into the lead as he birdied the par-5 16th.
'I got off to a good start with a birdie at one and then an eagle on three,' said Mallinger. 'I played really solid on the front nine. I missed a couple putts I could have made. The back was a little loose, but the putter was still working well.'
Daley, who picked up his second win on tour in Wichita, birdied the 11th and 12th to open his round. After giving a stroke back on the 13th, he birdied three of the last four holes on his opening nine to turn in minus-4.
The 44-year-old bogeyed the third, but came right back with a birdie on the fourth before he birdied the sixth and eighth to share second place.
Ellis opened with back-to-back birdies from the second. He then birdied the eighth to turn in 3 under. The 35-year-old birdied three of four holes from the 14th to end at minus-six.
Henninger, a three-time winner on the Nationwide Tour and two-time winner on the PGA Tour, started with consecutive birdies from the 10th. He parred the final seven holes. On the front nine, he birdied the first four holes to get to 6 under. He bogeyed the eighth, but birdied No. 9 to share second.
Johnson started on the back nine and played the first five holes in even-par with two birdies and two bogeys. He made the turn at minus-1, though, as he birdied the par-3 17th.
The 24-year-old Northwestern alum ran off four consecutive birdies from the par-5 third. Johnson birdied the ninth, his last, to end at 6 under.
Gump parred his first three holes from the 10th. The three-time winner on the Nationwide Tour birdied the next four holes before carding pars at 17 and 18. Around the turn, Gump birdied two and three to gain a share of second place and parred the last six holes to end at minus-6.
Troy Matteson, a two-time winner this year, opened with a 5-under-par 66. He was joined in a tie for seventh by Bubba Watson, Chad Wilfong, Greg Chalmers, Stephen Collins, Kris Cox, Todd Demsey, Rick Fehr and Greg Kraft, who won the Northeast Pennsylvania Classic earlier this year.
There are 21 more players just one stroke further back at minus-four.
Jason Gore, who has already graduated to the PGA Tour but is playing the event, posted a 1 under par and sits in 78th place.