POTOMAC FALLS, Va. – Gene Fieger of Naples, Florida, skipped breakfast to arrive back at Trump National Golf Club-DC at 5:45 a.m. Friday and complete an interrupted first round of the 78th KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
With the skies clearing, Fieger resumed his momentum with four straight par, and totaling just 25 putts over a marathon two-day round 3-under-par 69. That made the 56-year-old PGA Teaching Professional at The Club Pelican Bay in Naples the leader among 36 PGA Club Professionals in the premier field.
“It was a pretty early start and I made a real nice putt for par on the seventh hole, which was my 15th of the round,” said Fieger, recording his fifth Championship appearance. “I hit a good drive on eight and made par and also parred nine and 10; then made a good bunker shot on 10 to save par. I putted well and drove it well. I made putts I probably wouldn’t normally make.”
Fieger, the 2013 Senior PGA Professional Champion, said he had all the ingredients to begin the Championship as he had hoped.
“You try to drive in the fairway, lift, clean and place (preferred lies) is used, and the tees were up a bit from where they were in the practice rounds,” said Fieger. “It was definitely manageable.
“I only played 17 holes in a practice, that is, I played nine one day and eight the next.”
Fieger’s previous experience on a Trump organization property was playing Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida.
“Here, the yardage books are what you need, and you know what’s in front of you,” he said. “It’s in great shape and definitely scorable out there.”