Logjam at Seniors Players Championship


Champions TourBALTIMORE, Maryland -- A foggy morning and a brutal 18th hole made for a long day from start to finish at the Senior Players Championship.
After an intense fog forced two delays totaling more than two hours at the outset of the tournament, Mark Wiebe and four others shot 3-under 67s to share the lead after the opening round Thursday.
The stalled start was a mere inconvenience compared to the horror that was the 496-yard, par-4 18th. Only one player in 78 birdied the hole, and Gil Morgan blew a chance to claim the lead when he carded an ugly triple bogey.
'I thought I played pretty well, especially on the back nine, but I let it get away on one hole,' Morgan lamented.
R.W. Eaks, Scott Hoch, Loren Roberts and Walter Hall also shot 67s. Five players, including Fred Funk, Nick Price and Dana Quigley, were at 68. Price was the only player to shoot a bogey-free round.
Bidding for a second straight title after winning the SAS Championship two weeks ago, Wiebe bogeyed only two holes: 15 and 18.
'The wind came up on 15, the par 3,' he recalled. 'It looked like such an inviting pin. ... I just didn't execute there and paid the price.'
He rebounded to sink a 10-foot birdie putt on 16 but missed a par putt from 12 feet on 18.
'The bogey on 18 was disappointing because I had such a good drive there,' Wiebe said. 'I didn't hit a very good putt.'
Morgan would have been delighted to finish his round with a bogey.
He was at 4 under after 17, but got caught in the trees off the fairway and chopped out into the rough. By the time he reached the green, it was too late to salvage a respectable number on an objectionable hole.
'I hooked it and it almost went out of bounds, that's all I can say,' Morgan said. 'It just completely ruined a round.'
Morgan finished at 71, tied with eight players, including Hale Irwin, Tom Watson and 2007 money-leader Jay Haas.
Only 19 players bettered par at the 7,003-yard Baltimore Country Club. Lonnie Nielsen was the only player to birdie No. 18. He finished with a 70.
The transplanted tournament, which was held in Michigan for 17 years through 2006, got off to a shaky start in Maryland. For those with early tee times, the delay caused by the fog proved unsettling.
'The older you get, the more you have to stand around, the tougher it is to keep your back going,' said Roberts, who closed with seven straight pars.
Wiebe was scheduled to start at 8:10 but went off around 10.
'We all just kind of wanted to go play. But it was pretty thick,' he said. 'Are we supposed to have fog tomorrow? I grew up in the San Diego area. We used to have fog all the time. It's better for football than it is for golf.'
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
    Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.