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Jun. 26—After making bogeys on two of his first four holes, Greg Heider settled into a steady rhythm in the first round of the City Golf Championship at Berkley Hills Golf Course on Friday afternoon.

The St. Francis University graduate from Westmont Hilltop shot an even-par 71 to hold a one-stroke advantage over defending champion Derek Hayes.

“I had a lot of trouble on the front nine. I didn’t hit the driver real great,” said Heider, a four-year player for the Red Flash who graduated in 2020. “I hit a lot of hooks and a couple 3-putts.

“On the back nine, I hit it a lot better. I drove 6 (No. 15 on the back nine). I was on 2 (No. 11 on the back nine) in two.

“I made two pretty easy birdies. It was more uneventful.”

Heider had bogeys on the second and fourth holes. He had birdie putts on Nos. 11 and 15 the second time through on the nine-hole course and shot a 37-34.

“I think the field will go lower,” said Heider of the second and third rounds, which will be held on Saturday and Sunday at the city course. “I think they will move up.”

Hayes started out with two birdies on the first three holes and appeared poised to build on the quick start.

But a double bogey on the par-3 fifth hole and successive bogeys on Nos. 6 and 7 put Hayes at a disadvantage. Still, he managed to close the front nine with back-to-back birdies on 8 and 9 for an even-par 35.

“Very eventful,” said Hayes, who has won three of the past four tournaments (2017, 2018 and 2020). “I got off to a good start and birdied the par-5s like I wanted to, but I just hit a terrible shot on 5. Terrible chip. Terrible putt. It was ugly.

“I kind of let it get to me and hit a bad shot on 6,” he said. “I didn’t really move on from it. I struggled on the next two holes. I bounced back with a couple birdies to close out the front nine.

“I thought I could shoot a couple under on the back, and I just didn’t really make any putts. I didn’t hit it great, didn’t hit it bad. It was a boring back nine, but I didn’t shoot my way out of it.”

Hayes had a birdie on No. 10, but made bogey on 15.

“I have a history of not playing great the first day. It continues, but it looks like I’ll still be right there,” Hayes said.

“Two of the three times I won, I did not play well on the first day,” he said. “This is not unfamiliar for me. Obviously, it’s not ideal. I would have liked to play well and maybe get in the lead right away. I’ve tended to start slow and pick up from there. Hopefully, it’s the trend again this year.”

Aaron Patalune is tied for second with Hayes at 1-over 72. Dave Murgas is fourth at 2-over 73.

Tom Facciani, who placed third in 2020 and won the championship in 2019, is fifth in the 15-player field with a 3-over 74, and Jay Pheasant is sixth at 4-over 75.

Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.