Tyler Shelton of Fairway, Kan., and Todd Loechler of Kansas City Mo., are tied for the lead after shooting a one-under-par 71 on the first day of the 54-hole Tom Watson Golf Challenge at Blue Hills Country Club.
Legendary golf professional and Kansas City native Tom Watson is tied with Rob Wilkin, the head pro at Heritage Park Golf Course in Olathe, Kan., at even par 72, one shot back of the leaders.
Loechler, the director of golf at host Blue Hills, had no bogeys and one birdie in shooting his one-under opening round. Shelton. who played golf collegiately at the University of Kansas, opened with a birdie on the par-5 first hole, but stumbled to a 37 over the first nine holes. But he heated up on the back nine, with birdies on holes 14, 15 and 18.
The final 36 hoies are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
The Watson Challenge is in its fifth year. The annual 54-hole tournament is held to determine the best golfer in the Greater Kansas City golf community. Watson has won the challenge three of the four years the event has been held. Forty-eight golfers from the area, mostly club professionals and area amateurs, are participating in this year’s tournament.
The First Tee of Greater Kansas City is the benficiary of the Watson Challenge. The First Tee organization provides educational programs that build character and instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices in young people through the game of golf.