Flights bunched after Round 1 at Am Tour Senior Nationals


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Nearly 400 golfers over the age of 50 have descended upon the Jacksonville area for the Golf Channel Amateur Tour Senior National Championships. The 72-hole event is being staged at the Players Stadium Course and Dye’s Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass, as well as affiliate sites St. Johns Golf & Country Club and Slammer & Squire at World Golf Village.

Each player is competing in one of six flights depending upon his or her ability and will play one round at each course.

Ken Larney of Orland Park, Ill. opened with a 2-under 70 at the Slammer & Squire course to pace the Championship flight (<3.9 handicap). Mark Palmer of Winthrop Harbor, Ill. is one shot back.

Watch Video of Round 1 Highlights

Senior Championship Flight
Senior Palmer Flight
Senior Hogan Flight
Senior Sarazen Flight
Senior Jones Flight
Senior Snead Flight
Clifford Conover of Roosevelt, Utah, Richard Hunt of Phoenix and Jim Hicks of LaPlata, Md. each shot 6-over 78s at the Players Stadium course to share the lead in the Palmer flight (4 – 7.9 handicap). 17 players are within eight shots of the lead.

“It was my first time playing the Stadium course,” Conover said. “But I just hit to my distances and it worked out for me.”

When he came to No. 17, Conover said he didn’t feel nervous. Instead he remembered that throughout the day he had four other 130-yard shots.

“I didn’t even see the water,” Conover said. He hit his approach to 15 feet and two-putted for an easy par.

Gregory MacGraw of Davie, Fla. shot a 1-over 73 at St. Johns Golf & Country Club to lead the Hogan flight (8 – 11.9 handicap) by three shots. McGraw’s solid round included a nine hole stretch in which he made eight pars and a birdie.

The most crowded leaderboard is in the Sarazen flight (12 – 15.9 handicap) at Dye’s Valley course where Dave Verhulst of Ballwin, Mo. and Bill Hughes of Snellville, Ga. each shot 13-over 85s. 24 players are within seven shots of the lead.

In the Jones flight (16 – 19.9 handicap), Hap Hazard of Dunnsville, Va. is three shots clear of the pack after a 7-over 79 at the Slammer & Squire course. Hazard’s round included three birdies.

“I played this course at an Am Tour major earlier this year and didn’t play well,” Hazard said. “Today I redeemed myself.”

One of the best rounds of the day was turned in by Robert Zehler of Williamson, N.Y., who shot a 16-over 88 at the Players Stadium course to lead the Snead flight (20-plus handicap) by two shots.

Round 2 begins Wednesday at 7:45 a.m. with all four flights rotating to a different course. Weather conditions are forecast to be similar to Tuesday’s.