Alan Ellis

Two-time GCC Invitational champion Alan Ellis of Greenwood chips for eagle on the par-5 6th hole on Friday. He made birdie and wound up shooting a 71 —six shots off the lead after the first day. 

Greenwood’s Steve Pannell came out of nowhere Friday to grab the first-round lead at the 72nd annual Greenwood Country Club Invitational.

Pannell, a senior at Ole Miss, posted a 7-under-par 65 for a one-shot lead. He had a birdie-par-eagle finish to record his best round ever on his home course.

“I hit it good, didn’t miss too many shots. It really makes it easier hitting fairways and greens. I made a couple putts and looked up, and I shot 65. I’m excited for the weekend.”  

Thanks to a lightning quick start to his round Friday morning, Joel Myrick is tied for second place.

Myrick birdied four of his first five holes before cooling off a bit, finishing with a 6-under-par 66.

Myrick enjoys playing at GCC, and it shows in how he has played the course in recent years. He finished second last year after a sizzling first-round 60 in the three-day tournament in the three-day event.  

“I love coming to Greenwood and playing this event and this course. This is one of our premier events every year,” said the former Southern Miss golfer from Hattiesburg. “I played well. I kept it in front of me, and that’s what you have do on this course.

“I got off to a good start and slowed down. I missed a few fairways later on and scrambled around but got it in a respectable number.”

Respectable indeed. Myrick is tied with David Sellars of Madison, just one shot back of Pannell.

Sellars had five birdies and a bogey on the front nine en route to a 66.

He and Myrick are one stroke ahead of Baldwyn’s Tucker Jenkins, Laurel’s Adam Sauls and Hamilton’s  Tracey Cockerham. Belden’s Joseph Deraney and Gulfport’s Josh Lampley, the defending champion, are three shots off the lead.

Lampley strung together five birdies on the first nine holes and wound up at 68 — right alongside the 2019 Mississippi state amateur champion Deraney, a former Mississippi State golfer and the 2018 Canadian Men’s Mid-Amateur champion.

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