Brock Mackenzie of Yakima, Wash., got his quest for a second Bayview Place Island Savings Open title off to a good start on Thursday, firing a seven-under 63 at Uplands Golf Club in Victoria to lead by one over Jake Sarnoff of Manhattan Beach, Calif.
The 2010 champion went bogey free on Thursday at the second stop of the year on PGA Tour Canada, with the 63 his best score at Uplands in his sixth appearance.
Mackenzie, 32, said his familiarity with the golf course was key to his performance in getting off to a good start.
“There aren’t too many courses other than maybe my home course that I’m this comfortable on,” said Mackenzie.
“For some reason everything just kind of suits my eye. I know where to miss it and where to hit it and it’s just kind of up to executing. I rolled in a couple of putts today,” he said.
Besides his 2010 win, Mackenzie also posted a pair of top five finishes in 2009 and 2011 and was in the hunt on Sunday last year before fading with a Sunday 77.
“I’ve had some nice success at Uplands and I’ve always enjoyed coming back here. The people are great,” said Mackenzie.
Riley Wheeldon of Comox, B.C., also seems comfortable at an event that is like a home game for him. With a solo third finish at Uplands last year, he had another solid start on Thursday.
“I’ve been saying it all week. I love this tournament,” said Wheeldon, who carded a six-under 65 on Thursday and is tied for third through one round.
“It’s my favourite tournament on the schedule. I was ready to go this week and ready to give it another go and hopefully improve on last year,” he said.
“I have some people who have made the drive from North Island to come watch, so I have some people supporting me down here. It’s as close as I get to a hometown event,” added Wheeldon.
For all the scores, click here.