Seaside, CA – Mike Small fired a 6-under 66 on Sunday to grab the lead after one round of the PGA Professional National Championship.
Small, a three-time champion of the event, had only one bogey to get into first place by himself. The head coach for the University of Illinois men's golf team, Small previously won the tournament in 2005, 2009 and 2010.
Paul Scaletta is alone in second after carding a 5-under at Black Horse Golf Course. Matt Dobyns, Brian Gaffney, Jim Estes and Frank Bensel share third place at minus-4.
The event uses two Monterey Peninsula-area courses, Bayonet and Black Horse.
Small made the most of his round at Black Horse, where he began on the back nine and made it under par with a birdie at 12. He bogeyed the next hole, but got the stroke back at 14 and birdied 16 to make the turn at minus-2.
After rolling in another birdie at the first, Small ran off three in a row starting from the fifth, where he hit a 3-iron to four feet. Birdies at the sixth and seventh got him to 6-under, and he parred his final two holes.
"I didn't have to make too many long putts for birdie today, the wedge game was spot-on," Small said.
He will rotate to Bayonet for Monday's action, and said he needed to start feeling comfortable on the course.
"You have to drive it straighter than you do out here at Black Horse and I didn't hit it straight today," Small said. "I need to go work on my driver this afternoon. I think it is more demanding. You can't fake it around Bayonet, that's for sure."
Scaletta also played on Black Horse on Sunday and used an eagle at the sixth to kick-start his round. He bogeyed No. 10, but immediately got the stroke back with a birdie at 11.
He then birdied three of his final five holes to get within a shot of Small, who became the first three-time champion of the event in 2010.
David Hutsell won the tournament last year, and on Sunday shot a round of even-par 72.