DUPONT, Washington — Before boarding his six-hour flight from Baltimore to Seattle, Michael Chanaud kissed his two -year-old son, Weston, goodbye. Chanaud then did Weston proud in the first round Tuesday at The Home Course, shooting a 5-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead over a quartet of players—Canada’s Blair Hamilton, Ian Kim and Callum Davison and fellow American Eric Lilleboe. The medalist this week earns Forme Tour status for the entire season.

Chanaud began his day with a somewhat indifferent start and was even-par through four holes, with a birdie, a bogey and two pars. He put things in motion after that, playing his final 14 holes in 5-under, with six birdies and a bogey. No. 8 was the surprising hole of his round, especially what looked to be a routine birdie became anything but. On the par-5, Chanaud was in front of the green in two. He chipped, trying to use the backstop to send his ball back toward the hole. “The backstop didn’t work,” he chuckled after his round, “so the ball ended up being 25 feet away.” Naturally, from there, Chanaud drained the putt. 

“That was one of the interesting birdies of the day,” he added.

He kept his round going on the next hole, after flying his approach shot over the green and short-siding himself to the back-of-the-green pin position. “There I actually did use the backstop (with the chip), bringing it right back to the hole, and I made a three-footer for par.” His final birdies of his round came at Nos. 10, 11, 13 and 17, putting him in solid position with 54 holes to play. Chanaud has never played an official round in any PGA TOUR-affiliated Tour tournament. 

This week, Weston is staying with his mother in Delaware and his grandparents, Chanaud’s parents, who also call The First State, in Bethany Beach. 

Coincidentally, while Chanaud was in the last group off Tuesday, Hamilton was first off the tee and posted the initial 68 of the day, a score matched by three others. Hamilton last played a PGA TOUR-affiliated Tour in 2018, when he held conditional Mackenzie Tour status. In November 2020, he suffered a back injury while working out, a setback that left him wondering if he would play competitive golf again. After an MRI revealed surgery wouldn’t be necessary, Hamilton has spent every day during the last four months rehabbing in the gym. 

“If it’s not a full-on training session, it’s at least 40 minutes of mobility work,” said Hamilton after his five-birdie, one-bogey performance.  

South African and permanent Canadian resident Albert Pistorius is one of three players at 3-under and tied for sixth, along with American Hagen Fell and Mexico’s Jose Narro, only two shots behind Chanaud.