Paul McConnell set a new competitive course record at Cherry Hill in Fort Erie, Ontario, Thursday. His round of eight-under-63 gave him the lead on the first day of the Niagara Championship, a first-year event on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada.
The 25-year old University of Texas at Arlington grad fought through gusty conditions with nine birdies to build a one stroke lead over Bakersfield, California’s Manav Shah.
West Gates sits at 65 while David Pastore and Mike Miller are both tied for fourth after shooting opening rounds of 66.
The second round continues on Friday with the tournament scheduled to run through Sunday.