MITCHELLVILLE, Md. -- Jeff Klauk grew up at TPC Sawgrass in Florida, where his father served as the course superintendent for 23 years so Thursday's windy conditions in the opening round of the Melwood Prince George's County Open were nothing new to the 30-year old. Klauk tamed the swirling, gusting winds at The Country Club at Woodmore with a tournament-record 8-under-par 64, good for a two-stroke lead after the first day of the $650,000 Nationwide Tour event.
|Inside the Numbers|
|Klauk thru 18 Holes|
Klauk put together a bogey-free day in taking the lead over Matt Weibring, who finished third at last week's BMW Charity Pro-Am in South Carolina, and Monday qualifier Andy Bare, who was born in Salisbury, Md., but currently calls Jacksonville, Fla., home.
Dicky Pride is in fourth place with a 5-under 67, the best score of the morning wave. Bryan DeCorso, winner of the South Georgia Classic, heads a list of four players in at 4-under-par 68. Only 37 players in the field of 153 broke par thanks to 12-18 mph winds that occasionally gusted to 30 mph.
"You're guessing on the wind," said DeCorso, one of the players in the morning session. "There might be a wind direction above these trees but when you're playing this course, there isn't one. It's not doing the same thing. They make a big deal of No. 12 at Augusta, well, there's nine of those holes out here. It's switching all over the place."
Klauk's 64, which betttered the course record of 65 set a year ago in the inaugural event by a trio of players, got off to a shaky start with a 3-wood into the trees. He was forced to chip out back into the fairway, where his wedge shot from 90 yards stopped 15 feet from the cup and he rolled the putt in for par.
"You always want to get off to a decent start," said Klauk, who now lives in St. Augustine, Fla. "Rolling in that putt and knowing that I've been working on my putting gave me confidence."
Klauk watched playing partner Gabriel Hjertstedt (69) roll in five straight birdies starting on the second hole.
"It helps to see the ball roll in the hole. You hear it," said the leader, who nearly kept pace with three birdies of his own in that stretch. "It's a good visual of what your putt is supposed to look like."
Klauk hit the ball close during his day and needed only 24 putts to finish the round, which included a big break late in the day. "One more roll on No. 6 and my ball was going in the lake," said Klauk about the par 5, where he ultimately made birdie.
Weibring, who has been on a roll of late, playing in the final group each of the past two weeks, birdied three of his final four holes on each nine.
"It's been going in the right direction," said the Georgia Tech grad who has tied for 48th, tied for 13th, tied for fifth and finished third in his four starts this year. "I'm trying to not get too far ahead of myself about what could happen. I'm not really worried about winning. I am concentrating on the things I can control. Winning will happen. I'm starting to feel more comfortable playing good golf."
Bare survived a playoff on Monday just to get into the field and missed only two greens with approach shots that were close enough that he never had to chip. The former University of North Carolina-Greensboro grad, making his first start on Tour this year, posted one of five bogey-free rounds on the day.
"It was solid," said Bare, a winner on the Tarheel Tour earlier this year. "I'm just coming out here with the opportunity to build on some things. I haven't had much luck with q-school the past three times so maybe I can get at it from a different direction."
First-Round Notes: Steve Pate withdrew prior to the start of the round and was replaced by Jon Rusk. ... Tee McCabe withdrew prior to the start of the round and was replaced by Brendan Steele. ... Garrett Willis withdrew during the round (injury). ... Michael Sim withdrew during the round (back injury). ... Alex Prugh withdrew prior to the start of the round and was not replaced in the field. ... Thursday's first-round scoring average was 73.510.