VALDOSTA, Ga. -- Nationwide Tour rookie Jonas Blixt fired a 6-under-par 66 Thursday in the first round of the South Georgia Classic for a one-shot lead over Jeff Gove, Kevin Johnson, and Todd Demsey. Eight players are tied for fifth at 4 under.
"I hit the ball solidly all day," Blixt said. "This course is really tough and extremely long -- you have to show it respect and be patient."
|Inside the Numbers|
|Blixt thru 18 Holes|
At 7,781 yards, Kinderlou Forest Golf Club is the longest course on the Nationwide Tour and until February was longest ever played on both the Nationwide Tour or PGA TOUR. Dove Mountain outside Phoenix, site of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship, was listed at 7,849 yards this year. Kinderlou was the eighth-most-difficult course of 33 played on the Nationwide Tour in 2008.
Blixt got an early boost with a hole-in-one on the eighth.
"I hit a 6-iron from 183 yards. The ball landed about four feet short and struck the flagstick near the bottom of the hole," he said. "It was loud -- extremely loud. We could hear it all the way from the tee box."
This was the second ace of Blixt's professional career, the first coming last year at the PGA TOUR Qualifying Tournament. He went on to finish tied for 37th in the final stage and earn his Nationwide Tour card for 2009.
The 24-year-old Swede attended Florida State University, where was ranked eighth nationally in Division I collegiate golf and named as a first-team All American. He has made three out of four cuts so far this year, including a tie for third at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open Presented by Dynamic Industries.
Fabian Gomez of Argentina opened with an even-par 72. Last week, Gomez won the 2009 Center Open (Abierto del Centro), a prestigious event on the Tour de las Americas held at Cordoba Golf Club in Argentina. He was in the final group on Sunday that included reigning Masters champion and seven-time winner of the tournament Angel Cabrera.
Cordoba Golf Club is also Cabrera's home course. Gomez fired a 3-under-par 68 in the final round to win by four strokes over Ricardo Gonzales and five shots better than Cabrera in third.
Play resumes on Friday with threesomes going off the first and 10th tees from 7:20 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. At the conclusion of the second round, the field will be cut to the low 60 players and ties.
First-Round Notebook: Past champions Bryan DeCorso (2008) and John Kimbell (2007) are both tied for 61st after shooting even-par 72. ... There are ten Canadians in the field this week, the most ever at a Nationwide Tour event held in the United States: Bryan DeCorso, Brad Fritsch, David Hearn, Ian Leggatt, Jon Mills, David Morland IV (Monday Qualifier), Dustin Risdon, Jim Rutledge, Adam Short (Monday Qualifier), and Brennan Webb. ... The first round of tournament play featured warm and humid weather. Winds were out of the southwest at 7 to 15 mph throughout the day with a high near 88 degrees. Dry weather is expected into the weekend with temperatures remaining in the mid to upper 80s. Winds may turn in a more of an easterly direction over the next few days.