Assistant Sports Editor
KILLINGTON -- If it sounds familiar, that’s because it should: Mike Stackus is again tied for the lead after the first round of the Vermont Amateur.
Also "Twilight Zone" material: Stackus got there with an eye-popping eight birdies -- and Dorset’s Komline brothers, Devin and Casey, are not far behind.
At 1-under par, Stackus, last year’s first- and second-round co-leader, heads a youthful contingent atop the leaderboard at Green Mountain National Golf Course with 18-year-old Matthew Morin after posting a 70 on Tuesday.
Two players are tied for third at even-par. Five golfers, including two-time defending champion Devin Komline, are two shots off the lead.
"That was an interesting round of golf -- it could’ve been a lot better, it could’ve been a lot worse," said Stackus, 28, who plays out of the Country Club of Vermont.
Unlike Morin, a recent Lake Region High School graduate who had just two birdies and one bogey on his card, Stackus experienced a roller-coaster round.
Beginning on the 10th hole, Stackus birdied his first three holes -- three of the toughest on the course -- but gave them all back with a triple bogey after flying the green with his tee shot on the steep, downhill par-3 13th.
A sand-save birdie on the par-5 sixth hole got him back to even for the round. He also had eight birdies en route to a 66 at Neshobe last year.
"There’s a lot of golf left. It’s a 72-hole tournament for a reason," Stackus said. "I learned that last year."
Devin Komline, attempting to become only the sixth man to win three consecutive Vermont Amateurs, was paired with Stackus for the first and second rounds. He was one off the pace after two-putting for birdie at No. 6, but lost a stroke with a par two holes later.
"Mike’s on fire. He’s hitting the ball so well," Komline said. "If he keeps on like he’s been playing, I’m going to need to go seriously low."
Nursing a nagging back injury that flares up late in the round, Komline’s day featured four birdies and a double on the par-4 12th.
A year ago, he was five shots back after one round before storming in front on the last day.
"My back is on fire. I’m feeling good after that round, but I don’t feel good," Komline said.
Casey Komline matched his brother -- and a group that includes 2003 Amateur champ Peter Metzler and promising teenager Evan Russell -- with a 72 of his own.
Also starting on the 10th, the Appalachian State junior ballooned to 4-over after a triple bogey at No. 14. He bounced back spectacularly one hole later, sticking a 6-iron three feet from the pin for an easy eagle on the dogleg right par-5.
"Immediately 4-over early on, not excited, and bounced back with an eagle -- that’s the best I could do there," said Casey Komline, who also lipped out an eagle putt on the first hole.
He rolled in a 10-footer for birdie on the ninth hole to finish Day 1.
"I’m thrilled after what happened early on, just have to keep grinding," he said. "It’s a marathon, not a one-day thing."
High-schoolers Alex Rainville and Jona Scott hold down third place after even-par 71s. Scott was the early leader in the clubhouse and the lowest finisher in the morning session.
Home-course favorite Garren Poirier is tied for 10th after his 73. Metzler was the only player at 72 or better over the age of 30.
Round 2 begins Wednesday at 7:30 a.m.