A flawless 7-under-par 65, including a hole-in-one, propelled Justin Morgan, an Appalachian State senior from Denver, North Carolina, to a one-stroke lead in the first round of the 10th CCNC Amateur Tuesday.

“It’s near one of my best competitive rounds,” Morgan said. “It was a fun day to say the least. I’ve been in this kind of position before but today I got it done.”

He shot 62 in the Westport Golf Club championship this year.

Morgan was 4-under-par through five holes as he aced the par-3 third and eagled the par-5 fifth at The Country Club of North Carolina’s Dogwood Course. He posted three birdies (hole Nos. 7, 12 and 15) in his final 13 holes for the lowest score in the history of the tournament.

“Funny story about the hole-in-one because I had a hole-in-one last year on the same hole in the first round,” Morgan said. “I guess I’m going to have to buy some beers tonight.”

His pitching wedge from 145 yards on the island green par-3 landed five feet short of the hole and rolled in.

“Today, I worked on one shot at a time,” Morgan said. “Sometimes I get worried about the outcome but today I focused on my next shot.”

His 65 broke the tournament record for lowest first-round score of 68 that was held jointly by Larkin Gross (2018) and Walker Cress (2017).

Morgan averaged 73.0 strokes per round in four tournaments for the Mountaineers this fall. He was the low individual finisher at the J.T. Poston Invitational (3-under 210).

University of Tennessee redshirt sophomore Jake Hall of Knoxville, Tennessee, was nearly as good as Morgan, firing a 6-under-par 66 that included seven birdies and a bogey.

Trailing Morgan by four strokes in third place with 3-under 69s are Ervin Chang, who completed his college career at Liberty University in 2021 and Garrett Risner, an Elon University sophomore from Holly Springs.

Tied for fifth at 2-under 70 were Austin Duncan, of York, South Carolina, who plays at Liberty University and earned Division II All-America honors at North Greenville University in 2021 and J.J. Zimmer, a Union University first-year student from Humboldt, Tennessee.

This is the 10th CCNC Amateur, which began in 2012 under the guidance of Stuart Taylor and Eric Murray of the Tarheel Junior Golf Foundation.

After 36 holes, the field will be cut to the low 40 scores and ties.


A total of nine players shot sub-par scores on the Dogwood Course, rated No. 3 by Business NC/NC Golf Panel and No. 16 in North Carolina by Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine.

Duncan and Hall posted the most birdies of the day – seven each.

The par-3 8th hole played as the most difficult hole of the day, yielding just five birdies against the 82-player field.

The field stroke average was 76.80.

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