PORT ST. LUCIE – David Abolt used some local knowledge Thursday to lead after the first round of Event No. 1 in the PGA Tournament Series.
Abolt spends his winters working outside operations at PGA Golf Club, so he relied on his home advantage to shoot a 4-under 68 at the Dye Course and lead by a shot over John Somers.
“It definitely helps,” said Abolt, who also is a PGA Professional at the Country Club of St. Albans near St. Louis. “There is a putt on 17 today that looks like it’s going to break a foot and it breaks about 3 feet. I made it for birdie. If I hadn’t played here, I would have probably missed it low.”
Playing in his first PGA Tournament Series event, Somers has a chance to finish first. The PGA Assistant Professional from The Eagles Golf Club in Odessa shot a 69.
Somers overcame a bogey on his first hole to make five birdies – three on the par-5s – to be one of only two players to shoot in the 60s on a day that started with temperatures in the 40s.
“It was hit or miss at the start, but my putter saved me a few times,” Somers said. “I didn’t play a practice round, and it’s probably a good thing because I didn’t see the trouble out there.”
Both Abolt, 24, and Somers, 27, won their section assistant championships this year. The winner here receives $5,000.
Tied for third with 70s are Nick Beddow of Palm Beach Gardens, Mike Ballo of Stamford, Ct., and Rod Perry of Port Orange, Fl., and Dick Mast of Forest, Va. Perry has won nine PGA Tournament Series events, tied for sixth all time.
Only five other players finished under par at 71: Chris Black of Independence, Iowa; Matt Borchert of Winter Garden; Chris Krueger of Rehoboth Beach, De.; Frank Dully of Palm Beach Gardens; and Brett Melton of Coatesville, Pa.
Several PGA Professionals who normally play in this event are instead competing in the final stage of the PGA Tour Champions Q-school near Tampa. Frank Esposito is T5, Omar Uresti T10, Dan Olsen is 13th, Bob Sowards is T20 and Paul Claxton and Mike San Filippo are T37. The top five after Friday’s final round earn their cards.
The PGA Tournament Series is presented by GolfAdvisor.com.