It’s been fairly common for pros to post low numbers at the Lilac City Invitational over the years, but windy conditions Thursday bumped the scores up and created a crowded leaderboard.
Avondale assistant pro Russ Grove and Shane Prante of Olympia fired 5-under-par 67s at The Fairways to share the first-round lead. Jason Humphrey, of Coos Bay, Ore., was at 68 and Todd Pence, an assistant at The Fairways, shot a 69.
“It was a three-club wind for a while,” Grove said. “It started (blowing) as soon as I showed up at 7 in the morning.”
Corey Prugh, an assistant at Manito, Clarkston’s Mike Roters, who finished second last year, and Vinnie Murphy, of Edgewood, Wash., shot 70s. Jim Mee, of Libby, Mont., 2006 champ Colby Myers and defending champ Hank Frame carded 71s.
There were 10 under-par rounds, two by amateurs Murphy and Frame. The 72-hole tournament concludes Sunday.
Grove had six birdies and one bogey. The former University of Idaho player birdied both par-5s on the back side and added a birdie on the par-4 16th.
“My first couple of approach shots were horrible, just misjudging the wind, but then I made a couple of 8- to 10-footers,” Grove said. “It’s a four-day tournament and there’s plenty of golf to be played. I knew if I shot something in the 60s, that would be fine.”
Prante burned up the back nine with birdies at 10, 12, 14, 17 and 18.
Humphrey, who finished third last year, shot 4 under despite four penalty strokes.
He had a 10-hole stretch from 2 through 11 in which he played 6 under.
Pence was steady with four birdies and a lone bogey.
Prugh eagled the par-5 12th and followed it up with birdies at 13 and 14 en route to a back-side 33.
Roters missed 6-foot birdie putts on 8 and 9 but still shot 32 on the front.
He closed with a 38, including a double bogey on the par-3 13th.
“It was tough at times, especially on the back because it was into the wind,” Roters said. “If you got it off line, it was going way off line, that’s for sure.”