University of Florida golf coach J.C. Deacon rebounded from an opening double-bogey at the Innisbrook Resort Island Course on Friday to birdie five of his next eight holes and finish with a 3-under-par 69 and a tie for second after the first round of the Florida Open.
Deacon, the defending champion, Jarred Garcia of Jacksonville and Matt Cote of Palm Harbor are all one shot behind Gabriel Lench of Orlando, who had a 68 at the Island Course. Lench won his second Florida Amateur earlier this month.
Garcia birdied two of his first three holes. Ron Philo, the head pro at the Sawgrass Country Club, shot 71 at the Island Course and is tied for seventh at 1-under.
After one round at the Island and Copperhead Courses, the field will be cut to the low-60, plus ties, and play the final round on Sunday at the Copperhead Course.