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Jeff Nations

Ahrnsbrak fires 76 in opener

Winchester's Mike Ahrnsbrak shot a 76 in Thursday's opening round of the 23rd Southworth Senior PGA Professional National Championship

Ahrnsbrak, the PGA general manager and head professional at Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club in Front Royal, is currently 10 strokes off the lead after his opening round at River Creek Club in Leesburg. Former champion Kirk Hanefeld of Acton, Mass., grabbed the first-round lead with a 6-under-par 66 at River Creek. Hanefield is up by two strokes on Tom Herzan of Findlay, Ohio, and Mike Lawrence of Anderson, S.C.

Ahrnsbrak, hoping to make the cut and play in the final two rounds at Creighton Farms, had an early tee time for Friday's second round at Creighton Farms. The field will be cut to the low 70 scorers and ties following the second round.

The top 35 finishers in the National Championship earn a berth in the 73rd Senior PGA Championship, which will be played May 24-27, 2012, at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Mich.

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