golf ball

Wednesday's sweltering heat didn't stop Garrett Wood or Jonathan Brightwell in the opening round of the 2018 Rice Planters Amateur golf tournament.

Wood, a rising sophomore at Xavier University, and Brightwell, a rising junior at UNC Greensboro, matched 4-under-par 68s at Snee Farm Country Club to take a one shot lead.

Tied for third with 69s are Sumter's Christian Salzer, a rising junior at N.C. State; Notre Dame rising junior Davis Lamb; Mississippi State's Austin Fulton, a rising sophomore; and Matthew Finger, the graybeard of the bunch who graduated from Georgetown University in 1999.

Twenty-nine of the 91 competitors were at par or better after 18 holes. The 72-hole tournament continues through Saturday with daily tee times beginning at 8 a.m. The field of 91 golfers will be cut to the low 54 and ties following Friday's round, while the top 20 and ties earn exemptions for the 2019 Rice Planters.

Wood, who made the All-Big East team as a freshman for Xavier, managed to birdie all four par-5s at Snee Farm to earn his share of the lead. His first birdie came on the par-5 second hole and he also birdied the par-4 third and par-5 sixth for a front-nine 33.

Wood had difficulties when he made the turn, bogeying both the par-4 10th and par-3 11th, but got things going again and birdied the par-4 12th, par-5 13th and par-5 16th holes.

Unlike Wood, who had an early morning starting time, Brightwell played in the heat of the day, starting at 12:10 p.m. He was even par on the par-5 scoring holes, bogeying the second and 13th holes, parring the sixth and making an eagle-3 on 16. Brightwell made birdies on 1, 5, 9 and 18.

Brightwell was the 2016-17 Southern Conference freshman of the year and helped lead the Spartans to the SoCon Championship and an NCAA Regional berth this season. He won the league's Pinnacle Award for the highest GPA on the winning team at the Southern Conference Tournament.

Salzer, who is coming off a victory in the South Carolina Amateur Match Play Championship played at Furman University Golf Club, had the day's best front nine with a four-birdie 32. He had bogeys on 10 and 17 and a birdie on 16 for at 37 on the back nine.

Finger shot 36 on the front nine with two birdies and two bogeys then birdied 10, 16 and 17 for a back-nine 33.

Lamb got off to a hot start with birdies on 2, 3, 4 and 7 but bogeyed 8 for a front-nine 33. He bogeyed 10 and 11 but got those strokes back with birdies on 13 and 16 to shoot even par on the back nine.

Fulton had a quiet round. He didn't make any bogeys but eagled the par-5 second and birdied the par-3 fourth before finishing with 14 pars.