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.


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.