Knox, who won the title in 2010, shot 3-under-par 69 on Thursday at Ansley Golf Club’s Settindown Creek course to share the first-round lead.
Knox, an Alabama golfer, is tied with Robert Sheats, of Alpharetta, and Scott Weeks, of Savvannah.
The leaders are in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Knox is 21, Weeks is 32 and Sheats is 46.
Former Greenbrier golfer Chris Waters, now of Athens, is in a six-way tie for fourth place at 70.
Of the other area golfers in the 144-player field, William Sigg had 72, Jacob Tilton and Jamie Felder had 75s, Brian Carter had 76, Austin Vick had 78, Jeff Knox had 81 and Robert Robertson withdrew.