HINSDALE, Ill. – Jake Albert set sail in the blustery winds sweeping across Ruth Lake Country Club on Tuesday, posting a 3-under 67 to seize the first-round lead at the 106th Western Junior.

Battling wind gusts of over 35 mph, the 17-year-old from Blacksburg, Virginia, carded the first of his five birdies on his first hole, the par-4 10th. Albert's second nine featured birdies on Nos. 1, 4 and 7, good for a 3-under 33 to close the day.

The Auburn verbal commit was the lone player to go bogey-free on the front nine of the historic Chicagoland club.

"I got off to a real good start with that birdie on my first hole," Albert said. "I started to feel good and strike the ball really well, hitting lots of fairways. I did a good job of keeping the ball low and out of the wind."

Albert carries a two-shot lead over a tightly packed leaderboard. Four players are tied in second at 1-under with seven more trailing close behind at even par.

Sam Udovich – a 17-year-old from Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota – was the lone player in the top five to emerge from the afternoon wave, when the wind reached its peak.

Udovich carded four birdies to erase three bogeys for a first-round 69 on the 6,700-yard layout.

"It was a flat-out hard round," Udovich said. "I just hung in there and, honestly, I think my short-game performance was one of the best I've had in months."

The short game was fully on display on Nos. 2 and 3, where the TCU verbal commit made a pair of birdies from off the green. After chipping over the green on the par-5 second, Udovich rolled in a 15-foot putt from the fringe. He also chipped in for birdie on the par-3 third.

"If I would've put myself in some better positions, I think I maybe could've gone a little lower, but I knew it would be really tough coming to the course today," Udovich said. "I would've paid money if it meant I'd walk away at 1-under."

Joining Udovich in the tie for second at 1-under is Talan Harrison, of Kannapolis North Carolina; Will Gordon, of Hot Springs, Arkansas; and Albert's future Auburn teammate and fellow Virginia native, Logan Reilly, of Lovettsville.

Reilly's 69 also included four birdies to three bogeys in the difficult conditions.

"I thought I'd avoid the wind since I had a morning tee time today," Reilly said. "But I'm standing on the range at 7 a.m. and it's blowing like 25. I said, 'Well, I guess we're in for it.'"

Sitting in the tie for seventh at even par is Rich Wills, of Cramerton, North Carolina; Shawn Coultoff, of Winter Garden, Florida; Brett Moore, of Hollywood, Florida; Nolan Harper, of St. Augustine, Florida; Preston Albee, of Choctaw, Oklahoma; Matthew Javier, of Canada; and Peyton Blackard, of Fort Branch, Indiana.

Fifty-five players are within six shots of Albert going into Wednesday's second round, after which the field will be cut to the low 44 and ties. The final 36 holes will be played Thursday.

The winner this week will join Collin Morikawa, Rickie Fowler and Jim Furyk as a Western Junior champion. The top three finishers and ties receive exemptions into the Western Amateur at Moraine Country Club Dayton, Ohio, on July 29-Aug. 3.

Attendance and parking for the Western Junior are free.

For the full leaderboard, click here.

For tee times, click here.