Kirk’s ace leads to first-round lead in Utah

Utah Championship (Rd. 1)

Chris Kirk, the Nationwide Tour’s money leader, took his first step toward a three-win promotion to the PGA Tour on Thursday, taking a one-shot lead at the Utah Championship.

Kirk, who also won at this year’s Fort Smith Classic and Knoxville News Sentinel Open, made a hole-in-one Thursday en route to an opening 6-under 65. Kirk leads Michael Putnam, Cliff Kresge and Fabian Gomez, who all turned in 66s at Willow Creek Country Club.

Kirk’s ace came at the 210-yard par-3 2nd, his 11th hole of the day. The hole-in-one moved him to 6 under for the day and he played his final seven holes in even par.

With a win in Utah this week, Kirk would earn a three-win promotion to the PGA Tour for the remainder of the season.

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