The Kensington resident parred the first two holes before birdieing four of the next seven en route to a 4-under 68 to lead the pack at the Stanhope Golf Course.
“I haven’t played that well all year,” he said.
“You don't want to complain about shooting 68, but 68 was probably two or three higher than (I could have been). I didn't finish it off very well.”
Yorke, who golfs at the P.E.I. Ocean View Resort and Golf Club in Summerside, said he missed short putts on 16 and 17 before ending the round with a bogey.
Yorke had three birdies and two bogeys on the back nine.
“I’m so comfortable at that place, it’s like a home course for me,” he said. “It’s just a super fun golf course to play.”
Yorke has a three-stroke lead on Robert Shaw from the host club. Both are in the mid-amateur division, but if either has the low score after the third round, they will win both divisions. Yorke accomplished the feat last year at Dundarave.
While some golfers don’t like the pressure of the early lead, the veteran said it doesn't bother him. He will park Friday’s round and concentrate on Saturday.
“Today will be non-existent in my mind,” he said after Friday’s round. “I won’t be thinking I’m 4-under and try to hang on. Today is zero and I start from zero again tomorrow.”
Golfers were treated to a warm, sunny day with a light wind at the north shore club.
Yorke said Thursday he expected it would take a score in the 7- to 12-under par range to win the tournament. He wasn’t changing the opinion after being one of only two golfers to break par on Day 1.
“I still think there are guys that are going to light it up tomorrow or the next day,” Yorke said.
Martin O’Brien and Jeremy Stevenson both shot an even par 72 while Adam Constable and Stephen Anderson are one stroke behind.
Fiona Thompson leads the women’s amateur after shooting a five-over 79 on Friday.
Lexi McKay is one shot off the lead in second place.
Thompson was 3-over on the front nine and 2-over on the back nine after birdies on 12 and 14.
Jeff Cooke has the lead in the men’s senior division after firing a 1-over 73. Dave Connolly is one shot back.
Chris MacLauchlan has a four-stroke lead on Sherry White in the senior women’s division after an opening round 5-over 79.
MacLauchlan was 5-over on the front nine and had a bogey and a birdie on the back nine.
Ron Garrett and Mel Bernard are tied for the super senior men’s lead after opening rounds of 76.
Mike Coady and Grant Somers are two shots back.
Lorraine MacDonald leads Brenda McIlwaine by eight strokes in the super senior women’s division.