KINGSPORT — After four days of grinding at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, you’d think a guy would be burned out.
Not Church Hill’s Carlson Cox.
Losing in the Round of 16 at the Pub Links on Thursday, Cox and his family hopped in their car and drove over 400 miles back to the Tri-Cities and showed up at the 64th Ridgefields Invitational for a 12:30 p.m. tee time on Friday.
Cox shot an opening round 6-under 66 on Friday in the Championship Flight to take a one shot lead over Nick York, who finished with a 67.
Cayman Ratliff, William Nottingham and Scotty Hudson are all tied for third after carding 2-under 70s.
In the Senior Championship, Bill Argabrite fired a 4-under 68 to take the first round lead. Rick Hudson is second in the Seniors at 70 and David Reynolds third with a 71.
Due to the torrential rains last Wednesday, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their balls through the green.
In spite of little sleep and hot, humid conditions, Cox strung together nines of 33-33. He seemed unfazed by his lack of rest.
“I’m still going,” joked Cox. “I think I have another couple of days in me.
“Trust me, playing in this event is a whole lot less stressful than being in a USGA event.”
Cox missed no fairways and hit 16 greens.
“I’m very comfortable here at Ridgefields,” added Cox. “I did have to get use to the pace of the greens. I left a few putts short early in my round.”
After a good night’s sleep Cox plans more of the same for the second round.
“Same game plan,” said Cox. “I’ll just try to have fun out there and shoot a low number.”
York was steady all day. He shot a 4-under 32 on the front nine and had a 1-under 35 on the back.
“Just kept hitting fairways and greens,” said York. “I’ll need to do more of that tomorrow and make a few more putts.”
Argabrite, who is coming off a hand injury, was also very consistent in his opening round.
“I only missed three greens today so I have to be pleased with that,” said Argabrite. “Actually, I played about as well as I could have today.”