JOPLIN, Mo. - Afton's Cody Freeman is one of three local amateurs in the field of the Loma Linda Classic.

Freeman won a sponsor exemption as the winner of a play-in tournament last week at Loma Linda.

He opened with a 3-over par 74 during Thursday's first round.

“For me to have a free entry into the tournament was a big thing for me, Freeman said. “I started out with a few pars and wasn't hitting the ball particularly well. On No. 5, I hit a really bad ball out of bounds and from that point on, I struggled to get my game back on track.

“Tomorrow, I've got to have a positive attitude, clear my mind and have good thoughts, he said. “It's very important that I stay patient and hopefully, good things will happen.

Other amateurs in the field are Lee Larimore and Tommy Clifford, both of Joplin.

Larimore, who had a fling as a pro in 1994, has played in the Ottawa County Open several times.

Both he and Clifford, who played at Missouri Southern, had 77s.

Chris James of Edmond, the 2005 Buffalo Run Casino Classic winner, struggled Thursday, shooting an 11-over 82.

Tonight's cut included the low 60 professionals and ties.

Tyrone Mordt of Haltom City, Texas, used a 9-iron to pick up his first-ever hole in one on the par 3, 150-yard 16th hole.

Mordt, who just joined the Hooters Tour in January, shot a 69 on the 6,648-yard course.

The purse for The Loma Linda Classic is $200,000, with $33,566 going to the winner.