A familiar name was atop the leader board and another was close behind Monday after the first round of the Western New York PGA Professional Championships at Arrowhead Golf Course in Akron.
Defending champion and three-time winner Kirk Stauffer posted a 4-under-par 68, tying the course record to take a one-stroke lead over Rob Horak (Canandaigua CC) and Tim Fries of Transit Valley, who were 2 under at 69. PGA pro Lonnie Nielsen set the record with a 69 in the 2005 U.S. Senior Open Qualifier.
Stauffer, 56, the pro at Pine Acres Country Club in Bradford, Pa., shot 4-under 33 on his front nine with five birdies and had a pair of birdies in his 35 on the back nine. He won the championship in 2005, 2013 and last season. Last month he won the Bartlett Pro-Am in Olean on the WNY PGA Tour.
Fries, 53, won the WNY Championship tournament in 1999, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007. He shot 35 on the front line with two birdies. His back nine included five birdies before he bogeyed two of the last three holes for his 35-34-69.
Horak had five birdies and two bogeys in his round of 35-34-69.
There were nine golfers within four strokes of the leader, including Rob Krajewski (Orchard Park) at 1-under 71 and Mark Kirk (Crag Burn) at even par 72.
The field of 38 golfers will play the second round Tuesday starting at 7:30 a.m. The three leaders will tee off at 9:30 in the first WNYPGA major tournament held at Arrowhead.