CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Tug Baker rode a back-nine birdie barrage to claim the first-round lead Friday in the 51st Briarbrook Invitational.
Baker, who won this tournament 10 years ago, sank eight birdies during a 6-under-par 66 at Briarbrook Golf Course that gave him a two-shot lead.
"Everything was pretty solid," Baker said. "I was never really in any big trouble per se."
Former champion Ethan Hutcheson was second at 68, one shot ahead of Garrett Stallings and Jason Mickey.
Six more players broke par as Derrick Ashe and Taylor Lansford shot 70s and two-time winner Mark Bruder, Tim Old, Keith Reardon and Andy Pochik had 71s. Chris Moudy, another past champion, matched par-72 along with Rick Utter, Evan Hutcheson, Erin Campbell and Greg Crawford.
Baker, who was last year's runner-up, was 1-under through 11 holes before holing birdies on five of the next six holes. He hit a wedge within six feet on the par-4 12th hole and made birdie, and he got up and down from the right fringe for birdies on the par-5 13th and 15th holes. His chip on 15 rattled the flagstick and stopped eight inches away.
He hit a 6-iron within 20 feet for birdie on the par-3 15th, and he made a six-footer on 17 to go 6-under.
Baker started his round with his only bogey, driving the ball in rough grass.
"You'll have a few nerves regardless, starting the tournament," he said. "I drove it green high, but it was not the best place to be. I got it right back with a chip-in birdie on 2. That righted the ship, and birdied 5 and 7. You have to birdie the par-5s from the white tees to have a decent round and hope to make a couple more in the day. I was 4-for-4 on the par-5s.
"I've been playing and hitting it pretty good. I'm starting to roll (the putts) a little bit. Make committed swings, that's all I can ask for. Stay on the gas pedal and make as many birdies as I can. I'm a big believer in patience, but sometimes you have to go out and get it. You can't wait for it to be given to you."
Ethan Hutcheson, playing in the penultimate group, birdied the second, third and fourth holes for a front-nine 33. He gave one shot back with a bogey on the 10th hole, but he recovered with birdies on 13, 14 and 17 plus a bogey on 16.
Stallings carded 35-34 with four birdies and a bogey on the par-3 eighth hole.
Mickey also shot 35-34 but parred less than half of the holes. He spiced his round with an eagle-3 on No. 5, and he also made five birdies and four bogeys.
Ashe and Lansford had four birdies and two bogeys during their rounds of 36-34 and 35-35, respectively.
Deadlocked at 71, Bruder and Old both shot 37-34, Reardon had 36-35 and Pochik had 35-36.
Today's second round starts at 8 a.m. The Senior Division will begin its 36-hole competition today.
CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Today's second-round pairings and Friday's first-round scores in the Briarbrook Invitational at the par-72 Briarbrook Golf Course (Note: Senior Division players open tournament play today):
8 a.m.—Steve Thomas 75, Keith Reardon 71, Marshall Smith 85, Doug Harvey 75.
8:10—Bill Parker 95, Ron Wright 90, Jackson Boyer 83.
8:20—Ethan Hutcheson 68, Evan Hutcheson 72, Mike Abram 85.
8:30—Aaron Millsap 79, Micah Anderson 96, Jeff Bieber 80, Tony Sharp 91.
8:40—Elbert Smith 82, Richard Bentley 85, Scott McKenzie 82, Steve McKenzie 80.
8:50—Doug Cook 75, Brian Williams 91, Gary Sueltz 82, Randy Williams 85.
9—Marty Armstrong 79, Nate Neel 78, Zach Wilson 73, Derrick Ashe 70.
9:10—Jason Mickey 69, Ryan Conley 78, Cody Berry 75, Andy Pochik 71.
9:20—Shawn Platner 76, Bill Curry 74, Sammy Burks 89, Richie Woods 83.
9:30—Gary Rose, Lowell Davis, Dave Vanderwell, Paul Dylla.
9:40—Tug Baker 66, Doug Gaddis 79, Dee Murray 76, Seth Colaw 87.
10—Larry Cowger 89, Kasey Cowger 85, Shane Cowger 75, Ronnie Ressel 75.
10:10—Phil Roller 74, Trae Fairchild 74, Taylor Lansford 70, Jordan Burks 74.
10:20—Kevin Carey 75, Bill Albright 75, Troy Salchow 77, Drew Bilke 78.
10:30—Curt Walker 75, Bob McAfee 76, Jim Gozia 96, Carl Francis 83, Braxten Calhoon 93.
10:40—Rich Castillo 81, Jim Ellis 84, Randy Brownlow 75, Ray Maxwell 79.
11—Kevin Blackburn 94, John Klute 90, Jeremiah Brunner 80, Joshua Tupper 96.
11:10—Wayne Smith 82, Rick Utter 72, Patrick Scott 86, Jeff Derryberry 76.
11:20—Bob McKay, Terry Key, Frank Jacobs.
11:30—John Robinson 74, Marcus Patton 76, Chris Patterson 78, Mike Cooper 73.
11:40—Mike Moudy 106, Chris Moudy 73, Zach Braucher 82, Chris Landes 85.
Noon—Erin Campbell 72, Matt Otey 75, Garrett Stallings 69, Dustin Edge 74.
12:10 p.m.—Greg Crawford 72, Scott Whittaker 76, Mike Leone 86, James Ferguson 88.
12:20—Mike Sharp 92, Bob Adam 80, Bill Edwards 89, Craig McKinley 84.
12:40—Jim Hackney 81, Jordan Hackney 78, Tyler Morris 94, Tim Breedlove 85.
12:50—Mark Bruder 71, Tim Old 71, Craig Kersey 80, Dan Weston 74.
1—Zach Wrensch 82, Randy Wrensch 92, Cooper Wyrick 88, Richard Beydler 81.
1:10—Don Dishner 79, Kyle Darker 83, Roland Tucker 81, Roy Stinnett 86.