Tommy Smack of Caroline, the section's leading money winner the last five years but never a winner of a major area title, shot one-under-par 70 in chilly winds for the first-round lead of the 54-hole Middle Atlantic PGA championship today at Piney Branch.
Smack, 32, former MAPGA player of the year who has won or shared nine pro-am titles this season, birdied four straight holes on the front nine and went out in three-under-par 33. He registered his only back-nine birdie on the 16th hole for 37.
Smack birdied three of four of Piney Branch's par-three holes for a one-stroke lead over Mike McGinnis of Holly Hills.
McGinnis had two birdies and needed par on the 18th hole to tie Smack but his lengthy drive went into a stream and he took a penalty stroke and bogey five on the 412-yard finisher.
Defending champ David Jimenez, former Woodmont assistant now headman at Wintergreen in Virginia, shot 77.
Several area players now on the PGA tour had trouble with the wind: Ron Terry, 74; Mel Rifman, 75; Chris Piggot, 80; Mark Alwin, 79; and Rich Meissner, 83.
The second 18 holes are scheduled Tuesday and the final 18 Wednesday.