John Murdock IV, of Laramie, tees off during the Wyoming State Open golf tournament on Friday, July 12, 2019 at Airport Golf Club in Cheyenne. The Wyoming Open, which is in its 63rd year, is a 54 hole tournament hosting both professionals and amateurs from across the nation. Michael Cummo/Wyoming Tribune Eagle

CHEYENNE – Tyler Torano took a month-long break from tournament golf earlier this season. He needed the time off to improve his conditioning and assess his game.

The hiatus seems to have paid off.

Torano fired a bogey-free 8-under-par 62 and leads the 63rd Tyrrell Wyoming State Open after Friday’s opening round.

“Here, you just have to get the ball in the fairway and keep it in the short stuff,” the Chula Vista, California, resident said. “I hit the driver really well, hit some good approach shots and made all the putts I needed to.”

Landon Michelson of Miami and Samuel Saunders of Albuquerque, New Mexico, are tied for second at 6-under 64.

Torano started his day on the back nine at Airport Golf Course, and birdied three of his first four holes. He made the turn at 4-under, and birdied four of his first six holes on the front nine.

“Afternoon rounds are usually tougher than morning rounds,” he said. “For me to go out and shoot a number like I did is great. Now, I get to go out in the morning and have some solid greens to putt on and try to replicate what I did (Friday).”

Torano is familiar with the course after splitting seventh in 2018, which was his first appearance in the tournament. He wasn’t the only player in his group to go low.

Stephen Boyd of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Josh Radcliff of Coppell, Texas, are part of a seven-way tie for fifth at 65.

“We all seemed to have it going, and were making putts,” Boyd said. “It’s fun to play in a group like that. You’re all playing well and trying to keep up with each other. We had a good time out there.”

Torano said playing in a low-scoring group helps players build momentum.

“Everyone it hitting good shots into the green, you’re not spending a lot of time looking for balls,” he said. “You get into a good flow and good rhythm, and you get excited seeing good shots happen.”

Chris Korte of Littleton, Colorado, is part of the logjam for fifth place. The former University of Denver golfer carded just one bogey during his round.

“This is a golf course you can absolutely score on if you’re hitting it straight,” Korte said. “There are a lot of short holes that make it a driving contest and a chipping contest. I left a lot out there with some short chip shots I didn’t convert.”

Defending champion John Murdock IV of Laramie is part of a six-way tie for 10th at 4-under. He recorded one bogey on each side by frequently working his way out of trouble.

“I just didn’t hit it super well,” Murdock said. “That’s going to happen. You just have to scramble good, and that’s a skill I have been trying to get honed in.

“If I’m struggling in one area of my game, or I’m not super on, I have to be able to grind. That’s what I did to get to 66.”

Jeremiah Johnke is the WyoSports editor. He can be reached at or 307-633-3137. Follow him on Twitter at @jjohnke.

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