Eight Tied for PGA Club Pro Lead
HAVEN, Wis. (AP) _ Jeff Freeman of Palm Desert, Calif., birdied the last four holes to shoot a 2-under-par 70 Thursday and tie for the lead with a record seven other golfers in the first round of the 32nd PGA Club Professional Championship.
It was the largest number of golfers tied for the lead after any round of the tournament.
Only 14 of the 145 golfers broke par on Whistling Straits, the 7,208-yard links-style course designed by Pete Dye that lies along Lake Michigan 60 miles north of Milwaukee. The average score was more than three strokes over par.
Tied with Freeman were Frank Bensel of Mamaroneck, N.Y.; Bob Ford, Oakmont, Pa.; Brett Upper, Phoenix; Rick Schuller, Leesburg, Va.; Gregg Jones, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Shawn Kelly, Sacramento, Calif., and Christopher Toulson of Miami. Another group of six players were one shot back.
A hot putter but Freeman back into contention after a tough start. He sank 25-foot putts on the 15th and 17th holes and a 15-footer on the 18th.
Several players got to 4-under during their round, including Kelly, who birdied the first two holes on the back nine before giving back the strokes with two bogeys in his last five holes. Joe Regner of Lexington, Ky., had an even tougher finish, a triple-bogey 7 on his final hole _ his first bogey of the day _ to slide to 1-under 71.
The winner receives $40,000 out of the $300,000 purse, and the top 25 finishers earn spots in the PGA Championship Aug. 12-15.