AIKEN - Defending champion South Aiken rebounded from a disappointing showing in its last tournament to take the first-round lead Friday in the Southern Cross Invitational high school tournament.
South Aiken shot a 1-under-par 212 at Palmetto Golf Club and leads Dutch Fork High of Irmo, S.C., by two shots in the 24-team event. The final round is scheduled for today.
Dutch Fork won last week's Joe Wyatt Memorial high school tournament at Aiken's Houndslake Country Club. In that tournament, South Aiken tied for eighth place. Of the 10 rounds by the Thoroughbreds in the 36-hole event, only three were in the 70s.
On Friday, all four South Aiken players easily broke 80, led by Kevin Kisner's 2-under-par 69. The other counters for the Thoroughbreds were Patrick Cunning with a 71 and Dane Burkhart with a 72. Joel McAlhaney's 77 was thrown out because only the top three scores counted.
Kisner, the individual winner in the Joe Wyatt Memorial, is in a seven-way tie for first place in the Southern Cross. One of the other co-leaders is Erica Battle of Irmo High, the lone girl in the field. She played the same 6,380-yard tees as the boys did. A girl has never won the individual title in this tournament, now in its 28th year.
The other golfers at 69 are Vince Hatfield of Greenwood; Zack Siefert of Hillcrest; Phillip Mollica of T.L. Hanna; Dustin Johnson of Dutch Fork and Nick Hughey of Gaffney.