CANONSBURG, Pa. -- PGA Tour rookie Edward Loar and Web.com Tour rookie Robert Streb posted 7-under-par 64s Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Web.com Tour’s Mylan Classic at Southpointe Golf Club in suburban Pittsburgh.
Two-time 2012 winner Casey Wittenberg carded a 6-under 65 and is tied for third place with Sweden’s David Lingmerth and Marc Turnesa.
Kevin Kisner, winner of the inaugural event two years ago, heads up a group of six players two shots off the pace. Joining Kisner at 5 under are Brad Fritsch, Brian Stuard, Will MacKenzie, Cliff Kresge and John Chin.
Loar took advantage of perfect conditions and matched his lowest score of the year. The 34-year-old lefty dunked a pitching wedge from 125 yards for an eagle-2 to highlight a 6-under 29 on his closing nine.
“Everybody that plays golf knows it’s a goofy game,” said Loar, winner of the Panama Claro Championship in early March. “The cliché is that it’s just a game of inches and a lot of times it is. Maybe a few more putts went in, you hole out a wedge and all of a sudden you’ve got a good round going.”
Loar had it going for most of the day, canning a half dozen birdie putts from inside of 15 feet.
“I think the key out here is getting the ball in the fairway,” said Loar, who hit 10 of 14 from the tee. “I had a lot of wedge shots and you can attack from the fairway. If you, you’re going to struggle out here.”
Loar’s rookie season on the PGA Tour has been all struggles. The former Oklahoma State All-America has made only four cuts in 19 starts. His tie for 25th at the Puerto Rico Open is his best effort thus far and he ranks No. 223 in the FedExCup standings.
“It’s been a great learning experience,” he said of his first full season. “Obviously, I haven’t performed as well as I would like but I keep learning. I feel like I’ve played a lot better than I’ve scored but then, the numbers don’t lie either.”
The numbers have been better for Streb, who has made 14 of 17 cuts and entered the week No. 23 on the money list.
“I got to the point where I made enough money that I knew I would have a place to play next year,” said the Oklahoma native. “I’ve been a little more relaxed since then.”
His 64 marked his 13th consecutive sub-par score and he is a collective 45 under par since starting his streak three weeks ago. Seven of his eight birdies came from inside of 10 feet.
“You have to pay attention to what your wedges are doing out here. You can spin some off the greens if you’re not careful,” he said. “You hit a few good ones and the confidence gets going before you know it.”
Streb, a 2009 Kansas State grad, has four top-10s this year, including two in his last three starts.
Wittenberg, the top-ranked player in the field, was bogey-free during his trip around the 6.951-yard Arthur Hills-designed course.
“It challenges you in some weird ways that you aren’t usually challenged in professional golf,” he said. “You can get some bad breaks out there on some pretty good shots. Your lines off the tees have to be pretty precise and down certain sides of the fairways in order for the ball to stay in the fairway.”
--Jon Mills registered a hole-in-one at the 189-yard third hole. Mills used a 6-iron for his ace, the sixth in the tournament’s three-year history. Mills, who lives about 90 miles away in Indiana, Pa., just missed a second ace two holes later when he spun a wedge on the par-3 fifth hole that landed next to the cup and wound up less than a foot from the hole. Mills shot a 1-over 72.
--Edward Loar’s 6-under 29 on the front nine matched the tournament record set by Dicky Pride in the first round in 2010. Loar and Robert Streb tied the lowest opening-round score in the three years of the tournament. Josh Broadaway carded a 7-under 64 to begin last year’s event.
--22 of the top-25 Web.com Tour money winners are entered this week. Those missing are No. 1 Luke List, No. 5 Andres Gonzales and No. 20 Doug LaBelle II.
--Darron Stiles, winner of last week’s News Sentinel Open in Knoxville, Tenn., finished bogey-bogey for a 2-over-par 73.
--A total of 17 eagles were registered on seven different holes, including on one par-3 hole and three par-4 holes.
--Brenden Pappas (back) and Doug Barron (neck) withdrew during the round due to injuries.
--Luke Guthrie shot a 2-over 73 to end his streak of 15 consecutive rounds at par-or-better. Guthrie, who turned pro this summer, has four top-10 finishes in his four starts on the Web.com Tour thus far. After a 1-over 72 in his initial round at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational, the University of Illinois All-American has been a cumulative 62 under par since. His scoring average for four tournaments was 67.375, and he entered the week No. 19 on the money list.