Jim Thorpe of Falls Church, Va., shook off the potential disaster of his double bogey on the 16th hole today today to earn tie with four others for the first-round lead in the $250,000 Greater Greensboro Open golf tournament.

A onetime football running back at Morgan State who finished second in the Tuscon Open. Thorpe fired a four-under-par 68. Sharing the top spot with him were Tom Kite, Jack Renner, Bobby Waizel and Keith Fergus. Kite, among the leaders, is the only tournament winner.

Thorpe, 30, had six birdies.

"Tody I hit the ball very well," said Thorpe, a Roxboro, N.C., native and one of the few black players on the tour. "I don't think the course played that long. I putted the ball very well. I only missed one putt within five or six feet."

His double-bogey 6 on 16 came after he hit two shots into traps and missed a five-foot putt.

Thorpe joined the tour in 1976 but lost his playing card the same year and had to go through the qualifying school three times before regaining the card last year. Thorpe had won only $2,000 on the tour prior to this year but with the $27,000 this year.

Bob Eastwood and Barney Thompson were one stroke back at 69, three under par on the 6,984-yard Forest Oaks Coutry Club course.