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Chip Beck thoroughly enjoyed his pairing with Mark O'Meara and Loren Roberts during Thursday's opening round of the Senior PGA Championship. (Photo: PGA of America)
Chip Beck thoroughly enjoyed his pairing with Mark O'Meara and Loren Roberts during Thursday's opening round of the Senior PGA Championship. (Photo: PGA of America)

Beck Blog: The Ocean Course giveth and taketh away

Chip Beck enjoyed a positive first day Thursday at the Senior PGA Championship, which culminated with a 2-under-par 70. A lot it had to do with his handling the nuances of the Ocean Course.

By Chip Beck, Special to PGA.com

Editor's Note: Chip Beck fired an opening-round 70, one of the best scores from Thursday morning. After teeing off at 8:10 a.m. ET, Beck birdied the first hole but gave a shot back at the par-3 fifth. He added another birdie at the seventh, then rebounded after a bogey at the 13th with birdies at the 15th and the tough 17th. Beck finished the day with two bogeys and four birdies. Check back each day for another edition of his exclusive daily blog.

We had great galleries today. I played with Mark O'Meara and Loren Roberts. My brother was out there, which made it really nice for me. The golf course is just amazing how tough it can be and yet how rewarding it can be. It can take from you at times and, yet, it can give back, too, especially when you hit a really good shot in there.

The greens are really nice. They've cut the grain out of them, so like I wrote earlier, they are putting better and better each day. That's been kind of fun. The chipping is a lot of fun as well. Mark and I hit it to the right on the 14th hole, a par 3. He hit a lob shot and he hit it to a foot and it was absolutely amazing. There aren't many guys in the world who can hit that shot that well. Here I am, trying to hook a wedge and get the ball shimmying up the hill, kind of skipping and spinning up there. I mean, I hit it to about 8 feet and I was happy. So just a little bit of an angle difference makes the challenge so much greater. What's fascinating about it is two different ways to see it, two different type shots. And I think a great golf course puts the chipping game in play and that's really a great part of a major championship.

Even on No. 18 I hit the ball well. I had about 150 yards to the flag. The wind was kind of crossing into us and there's trouble short, so I figured I'd put it a little past the flag. And it actually carried too far. I had a little longer putt than I wanted but still had a nice two-putt. It's pretty fascinating that it can be that challenging. But you know what, that's what I love about it. You just accept and move on. I think that's one of the great things in golf, the ability to just accept, move on and keep doing your best.

This golf course is all you could want. It's fun to play and a thrill to be out there. You have to have a great presence of mind and have to be prepared for the challenge. To play a good round like this and have an opportunity to be near the lead is special. It's a long week so to get off to a good start is a big step.

Loren and Mark are really great players and they just have a presence on the golf course. I think Loren had one of the greatest pars I'd ever seen. You rarely see one as good as his on No. 13. He hit a driver to the right and then hit probably a harder shot to about 10 feet and made par. It was really one of the great ones. Even looking at it from 225, 230 yards he can make anything from there. They both have a great presence and it's nice to play with guys like that.

It was a phenomenal day. I thought we were actually going to have more wind. They were talking about a lot of wind early from last night continuing into midday and then ending. I was asking my caddie, "When we made the turn into 14, did the wind pick up? What's going on here?" It seemed to kick up to 25 miles an hour.

For me, I kind of like that, windy, gusty, a challenge like this. I think it gives you a sense of uncertainty. And a sense that you better be at your best.

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