Another Georgia grad atop leaderboard at Stadion

Brendon Todd felt at home Thursday, and it showed. The Georgia graduate fired a 66 to share the first-round lead in the Stadion Classic at UGA golf tournament.

Rafael Enchenique, a 32-year-old from Argentina, and Kim Whee of South Korea, also shot 5 under on the 7,253-yard, par-71 UGA Golf Course. Three players were a stroke back at 4 under.

Todd was a four-time All-American for the Bulldogs from 2004-07 and helped them win the national championship in 2005. The Atlanta resident has bounced between tours since graduating from UGA. He qualified to play the PGA Tour last year, but finished 146th in the FedEx standings.

Todd has played three PGA events this year and has finished sixth and 15th and while making the cut in all four events he’s played this year. He came to Athens with a No. 37 ranking, but was coming off a 49th-place finish in the South Georgia Classic.

“It was a nice relaxing feeling,” Todd said of being back at UGA. “It was a lot different than I’ve been feeling the last couple of weeks, where I haven’t really seen the line very well and haven’t been making many putts. Today was sort of a surprise.”

Georgia players have a good history in this event. Graduates Russell Henley (2011) and Hudson Swafford (2012) have won two of the three tournaments on the course.

Todd started slowly, bogeying his first hole of the day on No. 10 and hitting his tee shot in the water in the par-3 13th for another plus-1. But he birdied six of seven holes between 14 and 2. After another birdie on 8, he three-putted his 18th hole for his third bogey of the day.

“I just don’t think you pull out your yardage book as often and second-guess yourself,” Todd said of the familiar layout. “I think you step up there with a little more familiarity, and you’re able to rip off the shot you see with a little more confidence than you would on a course you haven’t played before.”

It also was a homecoming for Ryuji Imada, who played on Georgia’s 1999 national championship team. After struggling recently on the PGA Tour and missing the cut in two events, Imada fired a 68 and stands seventh heading into the second round.

“I’m not the longest hitter, and this is one of the longest courses we play,” Imada said. “Maybe not on the scorecard, but it played like one today.”

The field of 156 players — Brett Wetterich withdrew shortly before his round because of a shoulder injury — were greeted with high winds, light rain and unseasonably cool temperatures. Between the elements and the course already being a long track, it made for a tough test.

Only 65 players shot par or better.

“A dreary day, a bit of mist all day with the win,” said Tim Wilkinson who shot 67. “… There’s a lot of elevation out there, which makes it tricky in the wind.”

It’s a strong field, with three former major winners and nine players who won multiple times on the PGA Tour.

One of the bigger attractions was John Daly, who won the 1991 PGA Championship and the 1995 British Open. Decked out in a Dallas Cowboys outfit from his Loud-Mouth Clothing line, Daly limped in with a first-day score of 3-over 74. He left the course without comment.

Major title holders Todd Hamilton and Lee Janzen fared no better. Both also shot 74s, and they’re among a large group tied for 111th.

Conditions are expected to be about the same for Friday’s second round, which will be cut to the low 60 players plus ties. Continuing cool temperatures and a chance of rain are in the forecast.

Some local knowledge can’t hurt.

“I think it definitely helps,” Todd said. “It’s that extra familiarity. This a tough course with crazy greens, and the calmer you are on certain shots the better.”