There’s quite a logjam at the top of the leaderboard in the 72nd Forsyth Invitational.
On Friday in the first round at Reynolds Park, the number was 65. Three golfers — Chris Logan, Brandon Einstein and Stuart Fuller — all fired 6-under 65s and share the lead heading into today’s second round at Pine Knolls.
In the field of 88, 13 golfers broke par, which is 71.
“I hit it pretty good all day and made enough putts,” said Einstein, a rising sophomore at High Point University, who finished second to Uly Grisette in the Forsyth in 2017. “It was fun playing with dad, and it was cool to see him play so well.”
Greg Einstein, 52, shot a 4-under 67 and is two shots back. Greg had it going early and was 5 under after five holes. He shot 31 on the front nine.
“I couldn’t get it going on the back like I did on the front, but I thought we fed off each other pretty well,” said Greg, whose father, Freddy, won the 1973 Forsyth Invitational. “I want Brandon to play well, so I kind of forget what I’m doing and just watch him swing.”
Shooting 68s were Kenny Flynn, a two-time winner of the Forsyth, and Brandon Hughes. Shooting 69s were Michael Robb, Patrick McConville, Brian Hayes and the ageless wonder Arlis Pike, a three-time winner of the Forsyth. Pike, who is 71, nearly shot 68 but left his 10-foot par putt just short on the 18th green.
Pike, who last won the Forsyth Invitational in 1995, will have the luxury of playing on his home course today.
Also in contention are Gerald Carter, Kevin Veach and Mark Johnston, who shot 70s and are five shots back.
Fuller, a rising junior at Wofford, said he’s worked on his game all summer and it showed Friday.
Fuller, whose family is members at Old Town, had never played in the Forsyth Invitational but when he saw that he didn’t have to be back at Wofford until later this month he entered the tournament.
“I think the last time I played out here at Reynolds Park was in the Jerry Haas Golf Camp over at Wake Forest when I was like 11 or 12 years old,” Fuller said.
He got off to a perfect start on the first hole by hitting a pitching wedge to the par-5 on his second shot to seven feet. The hole plays about 500 yards, but after a great drive and a birdie putt, he was 2 under.
“I ended up at 5 under after five holes,” Fuller said. “But then I kind of went on a par streak. I’m thrilled with how I played, because I have been working really hard on my game.”
While Fuller, 20, was playing in his first Forsyth Invitational, Logan, 52, has been a regular. Logan has taken more of a relaxed view of a tournament he’s won three times before. He last won it in 2005, and last year he didn’t play because he elected to go on vacation.
“Last year it rained and they moved it to the next weekend, but we had plans,” said Logan, who had seven birdies and just one bogey on Friday. “Maybe not playing last year did make it a little easier this time around because I know I’ve played in the Forsyth a lot and I really like it, and I try to support it every year.”
Logan wound up shooting 3 under on both sides. He nearly birdied 18, but just missed a 20-foot putt and tapped in for par.
His only mistake was a three-putt bogey on the second hole, but other than that he stayed steady and consistent.
“I wasn’t too happy on the back nine because I just couldn’t get more putts to drop,” Logan said.
Logan said he sees all the younger golfers in the field, but he can still keep up with them off the tee.
“I’m hitting it as far as I did 15 years ago, so if I can just get my putter working like I’ve done before, I can be right there,” Logan said.
Robb, who was in the final group in the 2017 tournament, shot 69 despite a three-putt bogey on the 18th hole.
“I’m happy with my round because I just don’t play a lot of golf anymore with two young kids,” Robb, 34, said. “I ended up with four birdies and two bogeys but I didn’t shoot myself out of it. We’ll just see what can happen at Pine Knolls on Saturday.”
Sunday’s final round will be played on the recently renovated Tanglewood Park Championship Course.