Golf was as beautiful as it is simple for Aaron Purviance and Jin Chung, both of whom registered opening-round 67s and are tied atop the leaderboard at the 2020 National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship, which is being played on the Wanamaker Course at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
For Purviance, a PGA Assistant Professional at Red Ledges in Heber City, Utah, golf was a math equation on Thursday and 2+2 equaled 4.
“I focus on two things. My grip pressure and my alignment. If I do that properly, my clubface remains square,” he said. “That’s the key and I did a good job today. I played with composure and missed only two greens. Overall, I was free and loose on a wet and difficult golf course.”
Florida’s entire Treasure Coast is in the early stages of drying out from its dalliance with Tropical Storm Eta, which lent breezy conditions to an always challenging Wanamaker Course.
Only 15 of 132 players in the field finished under par.
Purviance tallied six birdies, three of which came in his final four holes (Wanamaker’s Nos. 6, 7, and 9). They more than made up for his lone blemish, a bogey on the par-4 2nd hole.
Meanwhile, Chung -- a self-employed Teaching Professional at Chateau Elan Golf Club in Braselton, Georgia -- found his golfing essence via an aggressive mindset.
“I played good, … started great,” said Chung, who birdied the Wanamaker’s first two holes. “I am new to (PGA Golf Club), as I just joined the PGA this summer. I don’t know what to expect from myself, the field or the golf courses. So, I wanted to be aggressive out there despite the wind, which was more of a crosswind than I saw in my practice rounds. It was tough out there, but in the end, (the aggression) paid off.”
Chung, like Purviance did, carded six birdies, but his memorable moment came on the 17th, as he holed a 10-footer for par.
“I had back-to-back birdies on the previous two holes (15 and 16) and I just didn;t want to give any of those back so quickly. To go par-par on the final two holes ended what was a really solid round.”
Steven Delmar of Gaithersburg, Maryland is alone in third place, one shot back after a 68.
Among Thursday’s morning wave, Matt VanCleave (birdied the Wanamaker’s four par 5s) of Mesa, Arizona; Ashley Grier (eagled on the par-5 16th) of Springfield, Pennsylvania and Greg Koch (two birdies, zero bogeys) of Orlando, Florida led the way at 70.
They’re among seven players currently T-4, three shots off the pace.
Grier is one of three female PGA Assistant Professionals in the field, along with Brittany Kelly (72) of Fishers, Indiana and Seul-Ki Hawley (79) of Littleton, Massachusetts.