25, 2005 - Last Updated: 7:50 AM
Ocean Course winds wreak havoc
BY TOMMY BRASWELL
Of The Post and Courier Staff
Morin had a beaten look as he walked out of the scoring tent Friday
afternoon at the Ocean Course. The first-round co-leader in the PGA of
America's Club Professional Championship bogeyed three of his last five
holes, and signed for a 4-over-par 76.
In spite of all that, Morin, an assistant professional from Lake Worth,
Fla., retained a share of the lead at even-par 144 midway through the
$500,000 championship. Travis Long, an assistant from Henderson,
Nev., shot 75 Friday and also is at 144. Morin and Long are one shot ahead
of Jim Sobb of Barrington, Ill., who shot 74.
Suzy Whaley, who at one point late Friday was the only golfer in
the field under par, bogeyed three of her last five holes and shot 74 to
finish at 8-over 152, but easily made the cut. Seventy-five players made the
cut at 10-over.
The winner of this tournament receives $67,000, while the top 25
earn exemptions into the PGA Championship at Baltusrol in August.
Bob Boyd of Wilmington,
N.C., a former Country Club of Charleston pro, also made the cut at 75-153.
Mike Lawrence of Easley missed by a shot, shooting 78-155, while George
Bryan of Columbia finished at 81-159.
Only two players managed even-par rounds Friday as the Pete
Dye-designed Ocean Course bared its teeth with a breeze averaging more than
20 mph. The average score of the 156 golfers was 79.065, shattering the
previous CPC one-round record of 78.00 set in 1981 at PGA National. The
highest round of the day was a 91 by Lee Johnson of Wichita, Kansas, who
finished at 173. The par-3 17th was the most difficult hole of the day,
playing to an average score of 3.858. The par-4 18th, at 439 yards, wasn't
much easier, playing at 4.8.
Morin left no doubt that it was not a fun round.
"Even the downwind holes it was tough to make birdies," he said.
"The wind was blowing 20 to 25 mph, so it was hard to pick a club. It was
hard to make a decision."
Morin's walk on the wild side included just about every type of
wildlife except birdies. On the 10th hole, Morin's approach shot squirted
into the dunes, and he had to get a ruling about fire ants. And as he and
his playing partners approached the green, a snake slithered across and into
the dunes. He managed to sink a 10-foot putt to save his par.
"There was also a pretty big alligator on 12," Morin added.
Morin said the three bogeys he made coming down the stretch were
"all 180-degree lipouts."
And even though he's still tied for the lead, he said he's tough on
"I should still be at least 3 under right now," he said.
As whipped as Morin appeared, Whaley seemed almost giddy about her
round of 74. The 38-year-old from Connecticut
was the first woman PGA professional to earn a spot in the Club Pro
Championship (2002) and was the first female in 58 years to qualify for a
PGA Tour event, the 2003 Greater Hartford Open.
"I wouldn't have guessed this after my start," said Whaley, who
double bogeyed the first hole after hitting her approach shot into the
water. Whaley birdied the par-5 second, but bogeyed the par-3 eighth and
made the turn at 38. But birdies on 10, 11 and 13 got her to 1-under for the
day. She bogeyed 14, 16 and 18 for an even-par back nine.
"I feel like I shot 4-under-par today," she said. "I struggled
coming home, but I'm here for the weekend."
Whaley said she really wanted to play four rounds at the Ocean
Course simply because of its seaside setting, and she feels like she has a
chance at winning.
"I wouldn't be playing if I didn't," Whaley said. "On this golf
course, anything can happen."
Because bad weather is expected later today, tee times have been
moved up, with players starting off both the first and 10th tees at 7:30 a.m., with the leaders starting at 9:30.