It was a tough opening day for the entire field at the 2015 PGA Club Professional Championship of Canada.
Unusually cool and windy conditions greeted the 96-man field at the Verrado Golf Club in Buckeye, Arizona, and it showed in day one scoring.
PGA of Ottawa member Chris Barber of The Landings Golf & Teaching Centre in Kingston (ON) opened with a 74 (+2) but it has him just five strokes off the lead with 36 holes left on the schedule.
Barber sprinkled in four bogies and two birdies on his day, leaving the 16th ranked professional in the country in a share of 13th place.
His round has him at the front of the pack among the PGA of Ottawa members competing.
Marc Foucault, Scott Johnson, Dany Lacombe, Gord Percy, and Chris Learmonth all struggled to rounds of 80 and higher but are still in contention to make the cut.
The field is chasing leader Kevin Black of Alberta.
The Head PGA Professional at the Redwood Meadows Golf & Country Club turned in an impressive 3 under par score of 69 in cold and windy conditions that chilled the games of many in the event.
“I just love to play golf and especially love playing in these big national championships,” said Black. “I definitely get that nervous feeling out there on the first tee, but I think it’s great too.”
Black’s impressive first round featured five birdies and a double-bogey on the par-5 15th. The 35-year-old said his game is suited for golf courses like Verrado.
“I’m pretty solid on golf courses where most guys have troubles because I’ll hit a lot of greens,” Black said. “The fairways are pretty wide here, so I was getting it in play off the tee and I putted pretty well too.”
In the Inter-Zone Competition Team Ontario holds the lead by four stroke over Quebec. Team Ontario is made up of Ian Doig, Ron Kenesky, Matt Peavoy and Danny King.
The field will be cut to the low 70 players and tied after Tuesday’s round with the concluding third round scheduled for Wednesday.