Principal Charity Classic: First-Round NotebookMay 30, 2008
Dave Senko, PGA TOUR Staff
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- Friday was a good first day for one of the local favorite Lonnie Nielsen. The former Iowa Hawkeye star and native of Belle Plaine, Iowa, opened with a 5-under-par 66 and shares the lead with R.W. Eaks. His 66 matched his low round in the event (second round, 2006).
• Des Moines native Tom Purtzer shot a 4-under-par 67 and is tied for third.
• Nielsen and Purtzer were not the only Hawkeye natives to enjoy productive first rounds. West Branch native Dave Rummells, another former Iowa Hawkeye golfer, is currently tied for ninth after shooting a 2-under-par 69. Rummells is making just his second start on the Champions Tour. He finished tied for 20th at the Regions Charity Classic in his last start.
• R.W. Eaks, who shares the lead with Lonnie Nielsen, has played very well at the Glen Oaks Country Club. He tied for 10th in his first visit in 2002 and tied for second a year ago. He also competed in 2006, but withdrew after five holes in the final round due to a back injury.
• Two long-time PGA TOUR performers made their Champions Tour debuts on Friday. Clarence Rose, the winner of the 1996 Sprint International, is currently tied for seventh, while John Morse, the 1995 United Airlines Hawaiian Open champion, is tied for ninth. Both open qualified this week.
• Defending champion Jay Haas shot a 1-under-par 70 and is currently tied for 20th. Haas is coming off a victory at the Senior PGA Championship last week.
• The start of play was delayed for one hour, 40 minutes to allow club staff to prepare the course after the Des Moines area received just over a half an inch of rain overnight.
• Hole No. 17 was the most difficult on Friday with an average score of 4.346 (+.346). There were just three birdies --Andy Bean, Kirk Hanefeld and John Morse. There were 22 bogeys, two doubles and a quadruple bogey. The easiest hole was No. 9 at 4.513 (-.487).
• With lift, clean and place rules in effect, the field averaged 71.231 for the day, an improvement over last year's opening round average of 72.200. A total of 34 players had sub-par rounds compared to 23 in 2007.
• Bruce Lietzke's run of 12 straight sub-par rounds in this event ended when he shot a 77 on Friday.
• Second-round play will start at 10:20 a.m. on Saturday with players going off both the No. 1 and No. 10 tees.