Sparks, Loar near lead in Buffalo Run Casino Classic

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MIAMI – Connor Peck saved the best for near the last.

Peck, a former Kansas Jayhawk who was playing in one of the day’s final groups, shot a 9-under 63 to take the first round lead at the Buffalo Run Casino Classic.

Oklahomans held seven of the top 42 positions in the Adams Tour stop at Peoria Ridge Golf Course.

Peck, from Ankeny, Iowa, held a one-stroke lead over Hunter Sparks of Oklahoma City and former Oklahoma State star Edward Loar of Rockwall, Texas.

Peck had birdies on No. 1 and 2 and 8 and 9 on the front side, then rattled off three straight on 12, 13 and 14, parred 15 and 16, then finished with birdies on 17 and 18.

Peck finished 10th at the Big 12 Tournament last month. He had six top-10 finishes for the Jayhawks this season.

He missed qualifying for the NCAA Tournament by one stroke.

Sparks and Loar each had rounds of 8-under 64 and held the lead ever so briefly.

Loar wasn’t surprised at Peck’s round.

“I have played enough golf where nothing surprises me any more,” Loar said. “Obviously I played well. I probably made more putts than I have all year. There are so many good golfers now that somebody is going to have a hot day or a hot week. When you get one of those opportunities, you better keep going.”

He logged seven birdies and had an eagle on the par-4 17.

“My putter was pretty hot,” Loar said.

Sparks, a former Wichita State standout, had eight birdies, including five on the front nine.

This is his third tournament of the season.

“I made some pretty good putts,” he said. I missed probably a 5-footer coming in and then I didn’t birdie 17, being just long of the green.”

Peck, Sparks and Loar were part of an afternoon at Peoria Ridge Golf Course that featured 92 degree temperatures and a heat index of 109.

Conditions are expected to remain the same through Saturday’s final round, with highs of 96 Thursday, 95 on Friday and 94 Saturday.

Chris Worrell of Enid and Josh Creel of Oklahoma City were among four players who had 65s.

The others who shot 65 were Gregory Yates and Derek Tolan.

Colton Staggs of Jenks joined Zach Cabra, Andrew Presley, Blake Trimble, Joe Migdal and Kolton Crawford at 66.

Franklin Corpening, No. 4 on the tour in earnings, had a 5-under 67, as did Chris Ward, Will Dusenbury, former Oklahoma Sooner Hunter Haas, Ethan Savoy, former Tulsa Hurricane Andre Torinho, Chad Ramey, James Knous and Riley Arp.

Grouped together in a tie for 22nd at 4-under 68 are Trent Whitekiller of Sallisaw, Robby Ormand, Devin Carrey, Sean Romero, Taylor Griffith, Rob Hudson and Kevin DeHuff.

Mark Walker of Edmond, the 2013 BRCC winner, was in a group tied for 30th with ex-TU star Matt Mabrey, Albert Miner, Trey Herman, Kyle Weldon, Andrew Lister, Derek Oland, recent OU grad Michael Gellerman, Alex Moon, Rocky Cleland and Thane Ringer. They all logged a 3-under 69.

Round 2 starts at 7:30 a.m. Thursday with the field cut to the top 35 percent of the 144-man starting field and ties following play.

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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source

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