Jim Estes, 17, the area's junior golfer of the year from Peary High, made a "barrel full of putts" and shot 69 yesterday at Woodmont's north course for the first-round lead of the 72-hole Middle Atlantic Golf Association Amateur Championship.

Estes, who plays out of Manor but learned most of his golf from Bethesda Country Club pro Jim Folks, ended his round the way he started it, sinking a 20-foot putt. That gave him par on the last hole, but six other putts, ranging from four to 30 feet, including a 20-footer on the opening hole and a 30-footer on the fourth, were for birdies.

Estes, who said he is playing as well as he did in the summer, when he won the Schoolboy, District and Middle Atlantic Junior titles, bogeyed the eighth, ninth and 12th holes. His nines were 35 and 34. "I feel confident going into the second round," he said.

Walker Cup player Frank Fuhrer of Pittsburgh made five birdies and, at 71, trails Estes by two strokes. Fuhrer hit a wedge approach shot over the 18th green to set up the last of his four bogeys.

Marty West of Columbia, who won this event by a record 10 strokes last year at Congressional, putted poorly and shot 81, but still made the first day cut. The field of 125 was pared to 100 and ties for today's second round.