JOPLIN, Mo. - Brad Risenhoover's first round of golf as a professional was an impressive one.
Risenhoover, a native of Stigler and a cousin of Miami head football coach Chris Risenhoover, shot a 66 Thursday during the first round of the Loma Linda Classic here.
“Today was pretty intense for me being it was my first time out in a professional event,” said Brad Risenhoover, who played college golf at Northeastern State in Tahlequah. “I was very excited about just getting the opportunity to play after making it in after the qualifier.”
Bryant MacKellar of Fairhope, Ala., matched the course record when he shot an eight-under par 63.
MacKellar, a former SEC champion from Auburn University, posted nines of 30 and 33.
Jack Croyle, the first-round leader at last year's Buffalo Run Casino Classic, is one back after carding a seven-under 64.
Ireland's Gareth Maybin, last week's runner-up at Rogers, Ark., is two strokes back after going out in 36 and coming in with 29 for a six-under 65.
“We had perfect golf conditions today,” Maybin said. “Having a look yesterday In the pro-am was a big help today.”
Because of torrential rains, the course was closed to the players until Wednesday's dual pro-am tournaments.
“I'm playing solid right now,” Maybin said. “After playing here and Peoria Ridge next week, I'm going home for a month to play in some Challenger Series events there and hopefully play well enough to stay.”
Risenhoover is in a five-player group at 66.
Blaine Peffley, Keith Huber, Jason Fober and Jay Reynolds are all three strokes back.
“ Early I was shaky with my irons and long game,” Risenhoover said. “I was 3-under after eight and then I hit a bad ball on No. 18 out of bounds for a double (bogey). I shook the nerves on the front nine and played solid golf.”
Chris Risenhoover got a chance to see Brad play before hitting the road for Little Rock, Ark., where the Wardogs are playing in the Shootout of the South, a 7-on-7 football tournament.
“I had two goals at the beginning of the week,” Brad Risenhoover said. “One was to qualify and the second was to make the cut. Hopefully I can play well again tomorrow and achieve the second goal as well.”
Today's second round began at 7:30 a.m. with players going from the No. 1 and No. 10 tees.
The cut will be made tonight with the low 60 professionals and ties advancing.