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Thursday notebook

The flat stick was the key to Kiyoshi Murota's sterling 66. Plus, Trevor Dodds is making the most of his opportunity, Steve Pate celebrates a birthday, Bob Gilder keeps a marathon streak alive, and more.

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Trevor Dodds started this week 15th on the alternate list, and ended Thursday's play tied for second place. (Getty Images)

By Dave Senko, PGA TOUR Media Staff

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The start of play was delayed for 90 minutes to allow for course preparation after storms moved through the area overnight, dropping 1 1/2 inches of rain on the course. Play got underway at 9:00 a.m. and was stopped at 12:19 p.m. when further storms passed through the area. Play resumed at 3:30 p.m. and was called for the day at 8:48 p.m. with 78 players in the 156-player field having completed their rounds.  

SHORT-GAME SUCCESS: Japan’s Kiyoshi Murota posted the day’s low round, shooting a 6-under-par 66. A six-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour, Murota’s round included 10 one-putts and a stretch where he one-putted eight of nine holes. Murota has played in a total of 12 Champions Tour events with his best finish a tie for second at the 2007 Turtle Bay Championship in Hawaii, an event won by Fred Funk.

TAKING FULL ADVANTAGE: A week ago it appeared Trevor Dodds had little chance of getting into this event since he was 15th on the alternate list. However, a rash of withdrawals, including one by Joey Sindelar (back problem), got Dodds a spot in the event and he took full advantage of it on Thursday. The native of Namibia fired a 5-under-par 67 and trails Murota by one stroke. Dodds had just 23 putts, including 11 one-putts and a chip-in.

PERFECT ATTENDANCE: Bob Gilder is playing in the 177th consecutive event for which he’s eligible this week. That ties him with Mike McCullough for the second-longest streak in that category in Champions Tour history. Dana Quigley is the all-time leader with 278 in succession.

HALF AND HALF: Due to the series of rainstorms that passed through the area, only 78 of 156 players finished their rounds on Thursday. Play will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Friday.  The forecast for Friday is for cloudy weather in the morning giving way to afternoon sunshine with highs in the low 70s.
 
HANEFELD’S HOT HAND: Of the 42 PGA Professionals in the field, Kirk Hanefeld of Acton, Mass., had the day’s best showing, firing a 2-under-par 70. He was one of only 20 PGA Professionals who completed their first rounds.

LEHMAN’S OFF AND RUNNING: Defending champion Tom Lehman was in the afternoon wave of 78 players and the Champions Tour’s leading money winner is currently 2 over par after nine holes.

HAPPY HOMECOMING: Louisville native Ted Schulz opened with an even-par 72. Schulz played his collegiate golf at the University of Louisville before embarking on his PGA Tour career.

THE BIRTHDAY BOY: Steve Pate celebrated his 50th birthday on Thursday and opened with an even-par 72 in his first start on the Champions Tour. He was a six-time winner on the PGA TOUR.