For the first time ever, an Oklahoman is leading the Buffalo Run Casino Classic after the opening day of competition.
Ryan Spears of Del City was one of four players who turned in a 7-under par 65 during Wednesday's first round of the NGA/Hooters Tour event at Peoria Ridge Golf Course.
Also joining Spears at the top of the leader board were Kyle Morris, Andrew Landry and Drew Lethem.
Spears could have held the lead to himself had he not bogeyed the par 4 second hole.
"I just got too far above the hole, left the first putt short and had a three putt," said Spears. "Other than that, I played pretty good. I kept the ball in play and had a lot of good shots, then was fortunate to make a few putts."
He had five birdies down the stretch for a total of eight on the day.
"It's nice to finally start putting it all together in one round," Spears said. "It makes golf a lot easier. This course offers a lot of birdie opportunities. You have to put in the right spot, though. I had a lot of putts that I misread, so my score could have been a lot lower."
Last year's BRCC was Spears' second-ever pro event. A former Wichita State standout, he finished in a tie for seventh at 16-under 272.
So far this season, he's had three top 10s, including a tie for eighth at the Terry Moore Ford Open and the Cutter Creek Golf Classic.
Chris James of Edmond won the tournament here in 2005, but didn't make his move until firing a course-record 61 in Round 3.
He wound up winning by four strokes.
Lethem, of Overland Park, Kan., also bogeyed No. 2, hitting a tree on the green side.
He was at 2-under through nine holes after starting on No 10.
He birdied No. 1 then strung together five birdies over his final seven holes.
"I got the putter rolling a little better on my back nine," said Lethem, a former Georgia Southern standout. "I was playing fine, just not dropping putts. I started getting my putts in a little closer. Putts started to fall as a result. It was unfortunate ... I ran out of holes to play."
Landry, a Texan who earned NCAA honorable mention honors in 2008 as a senior at Arkansas, also turned in eight birdies and a bogey (No. 9).
Morris had one of the cleanest scorecards of the day, playing bogey-free golf. He finished with seven birdies.
"It was a pretty solid day," said Morris, who played at Seton Hall, where he was a two-time Cleveland Golf All-America scholar and the recipient of a $7,500 NCAA postgraduate scholarship. "I hit 14 fairways and 17 of 18 greens. I had 30 putts. That makes it pretty easy. There was not a lot of stress."
Barry O'Neill of Ireland was in fifth at 66 and there was a nine-player logjam at 67.
The field will be cut following Friday's round.
Players were to vote prior to teeing off for the second round whether to make the cut at 50 and ties for this tournament instead of the normal 60 and ties.
The tournament was rescheduled from June because of the deadly Joplin tornado.
Pairings, the leader board and player scorecards can be seen at www.ngahooterstour.com.