THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Kevin Marsh shot a 4-under 68 on Thursday in the Southern Amateur, giving the 40-year-old Nevada developer a three-stroke lead in the event featuring college stars half his age.

Marsh had an 11-under 133 total on the Nicklaus Course at The Club at Carlton Woods.

"I just hope I can keep playing well, but it's two more days in this heat," said Marsh, the 2005 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion who won the Carlton Woods Invitational three of the past four years. "I love this place."

California senior Michael Weaver, the runner-up last summer in the U.S. Amateur, was tied for second with Georgia Tech senior Ricky Werenski. Weaver had a 67, and Werenski shot 71.

The winner will receive a spot next year in the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational.