Four share lead in Boise, where three players make aces

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September 20, 2007
By Chris Reimer PGA TOUR Staff

BOISE, Idaho -- Jim McGovern, Brenden Pappas, Jeff Klauk and Nicholas Thompson shot matching 8-under-par 63s Thursday for the first-round lead at the $675,000 Albertsons Boise Open presented by First Health. The 63s match the tournament record for lowest first-round score with six other players dating back to Rick Cramer's opening round in 1996.

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INSIDE THE NUMBERS
18-HOLE LEADERBOARD
Player Scores
T1. Jim McGovern 63 -8
T1. Nicholas Thompson 63 -8
T1. Jeff Klauk 63 -8
T1. Brenden Pappas 63 -8
T5. Dustin Bray 64 -7
T5. David Hearn 64 -7
T5. D.A. Points 64 -7
T5. Ryan Hietala 64 -7
T5. Garth Mulroy 64 -7

McGovern remembers playing in the inaugural tournament in Boise in 1990. Since then, the 42-year-old has bounced between the Nationwide Tour and the PGA TOUR, winning three Nationwide Tour events and the 1993 Shell Houston Open on the PGA TOUR. McGovern began the 2007 season with a runner-up at the Movistar Panama Championship, but has only recorded one top-10 finish since.

"I still remember making the drive back then from Reno up here to Boise," McGovern said when asked about looking back to the tournament in 1990. "I'm happy to be back. Sure the circumstances could be different, but I love to compete and I enjoy this event.

"Today the golf course played beautifully. The greens played perfect. They were fast. There might be a lot of red numbers, but this course can bite you, too."

McGovern finished the 1990 event tied for 26th and pocketed $860. He's been back to Boise four other times since then, but has yet to make a cut. The 63 is McGovern's lowest round on the Nationwide Tour since shooting 63 at the 2002 Permian Baisin Open.

Thompson's year started out well, too. A win at the HSBC New Zealand PGA Championship and six top-10 finishes have Thompson entering this week at No. 6 on the money list. With $265,055 earned this season, Thompson has guaranteed that he will land inside The 25 and earn his 2008 PGA TOUR card. That might be enough to keep most players happy. Thompson, however, remains unsatisfied.

"My goal since the start of the year has been to finish the season No. 1 on the money list," the 24-year-old Georgia Tech graduate said. "Roland Thatcher (the Tour's leading money winner) is playing great right now, but that doesn't mean I should change my goals. Everyone who plays out here should want to be No. 1. Nothing has changed for me."

Klauk's bogey-free round included a stretch of 5 under on holes 1-6. Klauk, who has been a member of the Nationwide Tour since 2002, has never held or shared the first-round lead. Thursday was his lowest round since the 2002 BMW Charity Pro-Am at the Cliffs. The Jacksonville, Fla., native has made six consecutive cuts and ranks No. 38 on the money list.

"I felt that I had a round like this coming. I have been working very hard recently and it is great to see it pay off," said the Florida Southern graduate. "Seeing the 63s on the leaderboard from the morning, I knew that there was a low round out there. I just had to play well."

Pappas has twice held or shared the first-round lead in a Nationwide Tour event. The last time came at this year's Chitimacha Louisiana Open, where he shot an opening-round 60. Pappas finished the event tied for 12th. Pappas is playing well as of late, with his best finish of the season coming at last week's Oregon Classic presented by Kendall Auto Group where the South African finished tied for fourth. The 37-year-old winner of the 2006 Rex Hospital Open ranks No. 31 on the money list.

"They call me the bubble boy," Pappas said. "Seems like every year either out here or out on the PGA TOUR, I'm right on the bubble. This year, I've stopped caring about what number I am on the money list and I'm just going to go out and swing from the hip."

Boise resident Ryan Hietala birdied three of his last four holes to shot a 7-under-par 64 and finish the round one shot off the lead. Hietala had a familiar face as a caddie this week with his wife, Jennifer, on his golf bag.

Hietala said that the comfort of having Jennifer as his caddie as well as sleeping in his own bed helped him play well. The 6-foot-5, 235-pound graduate of the University of Texas-El Paso said that playing in front of a crowd that included many friends and family did not add any pressure.

"Having everyone out there relaxes me. I know my friends and family are here. I know Jennifer is on the bag and there is no added pressure. It makes me calm," Hietala said. "I know a lot of players don't play well in their hometown event, but I seem to do better when playing at home."

Hawaiian phenom 16-year-old Tadd Fujikawa, playing in his first Nationwide Tour event and his third tournament since tournament professional this summer, became the youngest player in Nationwide Tour history to record a hole-in-one. At 16 years, 8 months and 11 days, Fujikawa recorded an ace on the 133-yard 17th hole using a pitching wedge.

Playing as an amateur earlier this year at the Sony Open, Fujikawa became the youngest player in PGA TOUR history to make a cut since 1957. Fujikawa finished the event tied for 20th. He finished Thursday's round 2 under par and tied for 59th.

First-Round News & Notes: Ricky Barnes also recorded a hole-in-one on the 17th hole. With Barnes, Fujikawa and David Hearn all acing the 17th hole on Thursday, it marks the first time that three players recorded holes-in-one on the same hole in the same round in Nationwide Tour history. Incidentally, this was Hearn's sixth hole-in-one of his life, all made with his 9-iron.... There were 14 bogey-free rounds on Thursday. ... The most players to share the first-round lead. ... Thompson finished the round tied for first in greens in regulation after hitting 17 of 18 greens. ... The first-round leader has won this tournament 3 of 17 times. ... The first-round scoring average of 69.519 is lowest first-round average in the tournament's 18-year history, and the fourth-lowest overall.

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