Veteran pro golfer Marcus Manley shot a bogey-free round of 65 to seize the first-round lead at APGA Tour Valley Forge, a new professional golf tournament at Bluestone Country Club in Blue Bell.
The APGA Tour Valley Forge is the first event of the APGA Tour Farmers Insurance Fall Series and the first visit to the northeast for the circuit that seeks to drive greater diversity in the sport of golf. The players are competing for $25,000, including a $7,500 check to the winner. Another $15,000 in bonus money will be awarded to the top points earners in the Fall Series, which continues in Atlanta next month before culminating in Los Angeles in November.
Manley registered six birdies on the par-71, 6,455-yard Bluestone Country Club course, never needing a putt of more than 10 feet during his six-under round. He birdied the first three holes, including a 22-foot chip-in on the second, and ended up with a four-stroke lead over Alec Martinez of Orland Park, Illinois.
“I was in the right frame of mind at the outset. I decided not to force anything,” stated Manley, a Washington D.C. native now residing in Kissimmee, Florida. The longtime APGA Tour and minitour veteran, 37, has previous APGA Tour victories in Tampa and Maryland as part of a career dotted with Latinoamerica Tour experience, a Korn Ferry (Nationwide) Tour start, and various qualifying school opportunities. He suffered a wrist injury along the way and worked in golf industry teaching and operations roles but is now back at it full-time. “I love the game. The ultimate goal is still the PGA TOUR,” Manley continued. “Hoping I can keep the same mindset going tomorrow.”
Patrick Newcomb of Jacksonville, Florida, and Trey Valentine of Melbourne, Florida, were in at even-par 71 with four players in a group at one over par, including Rovonta Young, of Huntsville, Alabama, winner of APGA Tour at World Golf Village earlier this year.
Regional players at the top end of the leaderboard were Zach Juhasz, of Bethlehem, who fired a two-over 73. Louis Kelly, the assistant pro at Metedeconk National Golf Club in Jackson Township, NJ, also shot a two-over 73.
APGA Tour Valley Forge is hosted by the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board, which promotes the Montgomery County region’s 50-plus golf courses as part of its Monto Golf initiative.
APGA Tour Valley Forge week kicked off Sunday with an Advocates Foundation Farmers Insurance Youth Program event at Walnut Lane Golf Club in Philadelphia, where The First Tee of Greater Philadelphia brought over 40 youths to interact with APGA Tour officials and players. The daylong schedule included golf clinic activities plus health and wellness discussions and raffle prizes for participants.
The tournament resumed today (September 22nd) at 8:00 a.m. The leaders will tee off at 10:20 a.m.
Photo: APGA Tour