With round one in the books, the competition for this year’s Titleist/FootJoy PGA of Canada Club Professional Championship looks very heated. Three players pushed their way to lead on Monday at the PGA Village Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Danny King, Roger Beale, and Lance McCullough each shot 7 under par, 65, over the Ryder Course. That exceptional score put them four strokes ahead of their nearest competitors, an advantageous position in a 54-hole championship scheduled to close on Wednesday.
Beale is a familiar face for Ottawa area golfers. The native of Barbados spent many years in the Ottawa area working at The Marshes Golf Club and Camelot Golf & Country Club. This past Spring he returned to the country he represented at the 2006 World Cup to work at the Royal Westmoreland Golf Club. Beale won the Ottawa Zone Championship in 2003 and also spent a season on the Canadian Tour in 2005.
As for his fine round on Monday Beale seemed surprised by the result. “I haven’t played much golf at all. Tournament wise certainly it’s been about two years,” Beale said after his round. “I just made a few putts, got a bit of confidence and kept the ball out in front of me.
King, a two-time (2005 and 2006) winner of the PGA Club Professional Championship, has a chance to join Gar Hamilton and Yvan Beauchemin as the only players to win the championship three times. With the victory, the 44-year-old who teaches at Magna GC also has an opportunity to become the No. 1-ranked player on the PGA of Canada Player Rankings presented by RBC. A victory would give him the Player of The Year award by just a slim one point over Brian McCann who is not in the field this week.
Rounded out the trio was McCullough of British Columbia. McCullough said he was very surprised by the score, saying he had few expectations for the round.
A total of 23 players broke par in round one with a number of those being from the Ottawa Zone.
In the pack tied for fourth is Chris Barber of The Landings GC, the thirteenth ranked player in the country and a leading contender for the championship.
Scott Mikkelson (Camelot) and Graham Gunn (White Sands) each shot 70 and are part of a group tied for eighth place while Chris Learmonth of the Deep River Golf Club shot 71 for a share of 17th.
In the InterZone Competition Team Ontario leads at 9 under par with the Ottawa Zone in second place at 6 under par.
The field of 100 will be cut to the top 70 players and tied after 36 holes of play.
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