Defending Minnesota State Open champion Ben Greve is on his way to keeping one streak intact and ending two others.
Greve, an amateur from Minneapolis Golf Club, shot an opening-round 6-under 66 on Friday at StoneRidge Golf Club in Stillwater. He is the leader by a stroke over University of South Dakota player Tommy Vining. Professionals Beau Hanson of Detroit Country Club and Casey Vangsness of Minnewaska Golf Club are two shots back.
Twenty-seven players in the 156-man field broke par over the 7,013-yard course, and 15 players are within four shots of the lead.
Greve, a member of the Gophers’ 2002 national championship team, started on No. 9. He came to the front nine 1 under, then birdied five of his remaining eight holes — including a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 7 — to earn the slim lead.
He is trying to become the fifth consecutive amateur to win the State Open while at the same time be the first player to repeat since John Harris in 1994-95. If he wins, he’d end a streak of 17 years with a first-time champion in the event. Jon DuToit (3 under) is the only other past champion in red numbers.
The field gets another shot Saturday. A cut will be made before Sunday’s final round.