Grant Bennett Invitational Golf Tournament

Sand flies as Gene Zeigler hits a shot out of the bunker during the second round of the Grant Bennett Florence Invitational golf tournament, Thursday June 18, 2020, at the Florence Country Club

FLORENCE, S.C. -- The results from the first round of the 71st Carolinas Junior Boys’ Championship at Florence Country Club in Florence, S.C. on July 28, 2020. (6,429 yards, par 34-36--70)

Gene Zeigler of Florence, S.C. lit up his home course on Tuesday at the 71st Carolinas Junior Boys’ Championship. The member of Florence Country Club shot the low round of the day, a 7-under-par, 63, to come in as the leader after the first round.

“Today I finally put everything together,” Zeigler said. “I’ve been struggling for a while and having been doing a lot of work on my swing. Everything just came together. I hit it decently. I putted well. My putter really kept the round going. Overall, it was a really, really good round.”

The South Carolina Gamecock commit and No. 2 ranked golfer in the Carolinas Junior Boys’ Rankings carded eight birdies during his opening round. For Zeigler, things really got going on No. 3.

“This is my home course and I feel like you can make a birdie on any hole out here. You just have to play it the right way,” Zeigler said. “No. 3 is probably the toughest hole on the course, and I made birdie there. That got me going, and I felt that if I could birdie No. 3, I could birdie any hole out here today.”

Zeigler kept his foot on the gas and continued the momentum with birdies on Nos. 4 and 6, before making birdies on five of the final nine holes. His bogey on No. 17 was his lone score over par on the day.

“It felt like a long time coming,” Zeigler said about his round. “You always expect the most out of yourself with every new round that you play. With all the work that I’ve been putting in, this is a confidence booster. I knew I had it in me, but a round like this hasn’t happened in a while. I think it’s the first time that I’ve broken 70 all summer in a tournament. To do it with a 63, not just a 69 or 68, that makes it pretty sweet.”

Zeigler, who is the reigning Carolinas Junior Boys’ Player of the Year, said that he wants to see his short iron game improve to put less pressure on his putting tomorrow. He and his group mates, Carter Busse of Davidson, N.C., Trey Crenshaw of Lancaster, S.C. and Adam Hunt of Columbia, S.C., will get things going in the morning as the first players to tee off.

Griffin Tarver of Tega City, S.C. sits in solo-second after firing a 4-under-par 66, while Max Green of Hilton Head Island, S.C. and Elliott Pope of Lugoff, S.C. finished their opening rounds at 3-under-par, 67 total tied for third entering Wednesday. In total, 12 players finished under par and are all within six strokes of the lead.

Second Round action at the 71st Carolinas Junior Boys’ Championship begins Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. Starting times run through 2:00 p.m. and following the second round, the field of 141 will be cut to the low 60 and ties.

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