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66 gives Nottingham first-round lead at Ridgefields

Joe Avento • Jul 12, 2019 at 7:25 PM

KINGSPORT — William Nottingham took a while to get going, but once he did there was no slowing him down.

Nottingham shot a 6-under par 66 Friday to grab a four-stroke lead after the first round of the 70th Ridgefields Invitational golf tournament.

“I drove the ball great today,” Nottingham said. “I hit a bunch of fairways, hit a bunch of greens and made some good putts. I probably could have made a few more, but you can always say that. I started kind of slow, but then I got it going.”

Second place of the 54-hole tournament was shared by defending champion Lucas Armstrong and John Lovelace, who both shot 70. Scotty Hudson shot 71. They were the only four players to break par on the Donald Ross layout.

“I played pretty solid today,” said Armstrong, who won last year with a 9-under par total. “I just didn’t make as many putts as I would have liked to. My two bogeys (on No. 5 and No. 13) were just bonehead mistakes. But I like where I stand. I just need to put a good number up tomorrow and go from there.”

Nottingham, who won this tournament in 2016 and ’17, said he started playing golf when he was 10 years old and has played Ridgefields “probably thousands of times,” so there shouldn’t be any surprises here.

”I’ve seen just about every shot out there,” he said.

Nothing spectacular happened for Nottingham, if you can call a round with seven birdies and a lone bogey unspectacular. His longest birdie putt was 20 feet, and after he made a bogey on the par-four ninth hole, he put the pedal down, making four birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine.

“I came back strong,” he said.

Nottingham, who will be a senior at Clemson this year, says his game plan will be simple for the rest of the weekend.

“I’ve been hitting my tee ball really well,” he said. “ If I can keep doing that and keep giving myself a bunch of good looks for birdie, I should be alright.”

Defending Senior Division champion Tim Dinwiddie picked up right where he left off, taking the first-round lead with a 70. He was one shot ahead of James Fender and Tony Green, who each carded a 71.

Hal McHorris shot 73 and held a big lead in the Super Senior Division.

The second round is set for Saturday with the senior leaders going off at 8:50 a.m. and the Championship Division leaders beginning at 10 a.m.