Farmington • When the Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open moves to Provo's Riverside Country Club next summer, teaching pro Matt Baird will have a home-course advantage.
He's also positioning himself to play as the defending champion.
Baird posted a 7-under-par 65 in Friday's opening round at Oakridge Country Club, tying John Shaw III for the lead. The 54-hole event, offering a $21,000 first prize, concludes Sunday.
Playing in the afternoon, Baird made seven birdies and no bogeys just as Shaw had done in the morning. Shaw has strung together three outstanding scores in the Utah Open. The only trouble is those rounds have stretched over two years. The assistant pro at Jackpot (Nev.) Golf Club started with a 74 last August before rallying with a 65-67 finish to tie for 18th place.
Matt Montez of Sacramento, Calif., posted a 66 in the afternoon, when play was suspended due to lightning for 44 minutes. The group at 67 includes local pros Pete Stone and Zach Johnson.
Shaw described his round as "pretty stress-free," with his longest birdie putt covering only 8 feet. He's comfortable in Utah, having earned medalist honors in a U.S. Open local qualifying event at Hidden Valley Country Club in May.
Montez reached 6 under through 13 holes with four straight birdies, then parred the last five holes.
Stone, who works at Valley View Golf Golf Course in Layton, nearly posted a 66, but his 12-foot birdie attempt on No. 9 stayed on the lip of the hole. Johnson, Stone's former co-worker at Davis Park GC, made a nice par save to end a round that included only one birdie on Oakridge's four par-5s.
Colorado Open winner Zahkai Brown holed a 42-yard pitch shot for an eagle at the par-4 No. 18, on his way to joining the group at 67. He three-putted for a bogey on his last hole, No. 9.