PGA TOUR Americas

Five players shoot 64 to share lead in Victoria

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Adam Cornelson (Chuck Russell/PGA TOUR)

Victoria, B.C. – Five players shot matching rounds of 6-under 64 on Thursday at Uplands Golf Club to share the first round lead at the Bayview Place Island Savings Open presented by Times Colonist, the second event of the 2016 Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada season.

Rockford, Illnois’ Brad Benjamin and Victoria, B.C.’s Ben Griffin – a PGA of Canada member and Assistant Pro at Uplands – both recorded albatrosses on the par-5 seventh hole to reach 6-under, tied with Langley, B.C.’s Adam Cornelson, Cibolo, Texas’ Jeff Rein and Shelton, Washington’s Chris Evans.

Griffin and Benjamin’s deuces mark the first time two albatrosses have been recorded in the same round in Mackenzie Tour history.

“It reminded me of when I made my first hole-in-one,” said Benjamin, a first-year Mackenzie Tour member. “You’re just kind of mentally out of it. I just tried to use that experience, because you’re just trying to stay focused for eight and nine. Those holes are just as important as any others.”

Griffin, a 36-year old Victoria native with more than 20 years’ worth of experience playing at Uplands, was treated to a hero’s welcome from fans at the 18th hole.

“I just kept saying to myself, ‘Why not me? Someone’s got to play well.’ It was a little bit of a steer job on the last couple of holes just trying to get it into the clubhouse, but it was great to see people out here – it’s like a second family to me.”

Rein matched Benjamin’s 64 playing in the same group, while Cornelson and Evans posted their scores in windier conditions Thursday morning to take the early lead.

“It’s a nice, but we all know on this Tour how the guys can go low, so I’m focused on getting some rest and hitting that first tee shot and seeing how it goes,” said Cornelson.

One shot behind the group at 6-under were Seann Harlingten, Aaron Cockerill, Scott Vincent and Hank Lebioda with rounds of 5-under 65.