Jim Renner used an 8-under-par 63, his low round of the year, to move into the lead midway through the opening round of the Rex Hospital Open on Thursday.
Renner, a Boston native who lives in Orlando, Fla., held a two-shot lead over Steven Bowditch of Australia in the Nationwide Tour event at TPC Wakefield Plantation.
Corey Nagy of Charlotte, a former All-America for the Charlotte 49ers, opened with a 66. Nagy, a tour rookie, was tied with B.J. Staten and Scott Gardiner.
Nagy, 23, has been slowed by vertigo this year, forcing him to voluntarily give up a sponsor’s exemption into the recent Wells Fargo Championship, the PGA Tour stop at Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club. His 66, which included a run of three birdies to start the back nine, was his low score of the year.
Luke List, the leading money winner on the tour this year, opened with a 73.
Renner had an opening-round 65 two weeks ago in the BMW Charity Pro-Am in South Carolina, then followed up with rounds of 70, 73 and 71 to finish tied for 33rd. He has missed the cut in six of nine events this year, tying for ninth at the Soboba Golf Classic in early April for his best finish.
Renner first played college golf at Oklahoma before transferring to Johnson & Wales in Miami.
Bowditch began his round on the 10th hole and was even par through his first 11 holes. Then came a run of birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie, birdie.
Bowditch has played on both the PGA and Nationwide tours this year, with his best finish a tie for 15th in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on the big tour.