Hensby Aces Way to Lead

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MIAMI, Fla. -- Mark Hensby fired a course-record 7-under-par 64, including a hole-in-one, to grab a share of the lead Thursday after the first round of the inaugural Miccosukee Championship. Hensby was joined in the lead by Grant Waite.
 
Ben Bates and Paul Claxton posted matching rounds of 6-under-par 65 to share third place. Russ Cochran and Erik Compton were tied one stroke further back at minus-5.
 
Hensby, who tied for second place last week at the Permian Basin Charity Classic, got off to a fast start at Miccosukee Golf & Country Club. He birdied the par-5 first.
 
He followed by knocking a 6-iron into the cup for a hole-in-one at the par-3 second. He settled down to run off 11 consecutive pars, before another hot stretch midway through the back nine.
 
'Maybe years ago I would have gotten a little more excited about it, but not now,' said a subdued Hensby. 'Now you figure it's just another hole and you keep playing because it doesn't mean anything after two holes. It was great, but I've had eight or nine now. After the first one, it's not as big a thrill.'
 
Hensby eagled the par-5 14th to get to 5 under. He followed that up with back-to-back birdies from the 15th to grab a share of the lead. Hensby is coasting through the final two events having already wrapped up his PGA Tour card for next year.
 
'Once I knew I had my tour card wrapped up, probably after I finished fourth in Salt Lake City, it became a lot easier for me,' said Hensby, who owns six top-10 and four top-5 finishes this year. 'Obviously you want to finish as high as you can on the money list, but it takes a lot of pressure off you.'
 
Waite also opened with a birdie on the first but he stumbled to a bogey at the par-4 third. He came back with an improbable eagle at the par-4 fifth and birdied the seventh and ninth to head to the back side at 4 under.
 
Around the turn, Waite also birdied the 10th and 11th to cap a run of three straight birdies. He climbed to 7 under with a birdie at the 14th. However, he bogeyed the next before sinking a 15-footer for birdie at the par-4 closing hole.
 
'I've struggled most of my career with my putting and today that's what carried me,' said Waite. 'Today for some reason, I was extremely calm and patient.'
 
Waite has struggled on the PGA Tour this season. He has made just six cuts in 18 starts.
 
'Eighteen events is more than enough if your game isn't in good enough shape,' Waite said. 'My game is an enigma, I can't figure it out. Golf is a difficult game and you have to make decisions on what you think is important to work on. I'm happy with what I'm doing, I just haven't been able to get the results I've wanted.'
 
Ted Purdy, Scott Sterling, Andre Stolz, Brett Wetterich, Oliver Wilson, Jess Daley, Kevin Johnson, Jeff Klauk and Brad Ott all share seventh place at 4-under-par 67.
 
D.J. Brigman, last week's winner, heads a group one stroke further back at minus-3.
 
Related Links
  • Leaderboard - Miccosukee Championship
  • Full Coverage - Miccosukee Championship