The opening round of the Firecracker Open was a good one for a pair of golfers who shared a first name and an 8-under-par score.
Alex Ellis, the 2011 Firecracker champion, and Alex Levy each fired a 63 Friday to share the first-round lead in the historic 54-hole championship played at Lions Municipal. They will begin the second round with a three-shot edge over 2011 city champion Kody King.
Michael Cooper, a two-time Firecracker winner and a former city champion, shot a 67 to tie for fourth with Charles Neel White III, Peach Reynolds and Tim Mitchell.
A 10-player logjam at 3-under 68 included Mike Allen, the 1974 Firecracker winner who was the runner-up to Ellis in 2011.
Ellis, a Westlake High School graduate who will be a senior at the College of Charleston, got off to a quick start Friday with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2. His only bogey of the day came on the par-four third hole, but he bounced back to make the turn at 3-under 33. He toured the back nine with a bogey-free 5-under 30 with birdies on Nos. 10, 13, 14, 15 and 18.
Levy, who just graduated from Austin High and will attend Rice in the fall, began his play on the back nine Friday. He made birdie on four of his first six holes on the way to his bogey-free round.
The low scores posted by Ellis and Levy on Friday had many talking about a possible tournament record. Cooper holds that honor with a 17-under 196 in 2003, when he shot rounds of 62, 68 and 66.