3 Tied for Lead After Round 1 of 2022 National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship
By Craig Dolch
Colin Inglis hits his tee shot on the 11th hole during the third round for the 54th PGA Professional Championship held at PGA Golf Club on April 27, 2021 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Montana Pritchard/PGA of America)
A familiar factor greeted the field during Thursday’s first round of the National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship supported by Srixon/Cleveland Golf/XXIO/Asics.
A cool northern breeze, gusting throughout the day, added to the usual challenges of the Wanamaker Course at PGA Golf Club. It made picking clubs difficult and putting on the quick greens more of a battle after calm days during the practice rounds.
Danny Lewis from Hollywood Golf Club in the New Jersey PGA, Colin Inglis of Shadow Hills Country Club in the Pacific Northwest PGA and Andy Svoboda of the Metropolitan PGA made the necessary adjustments to shoot 3-under 69 and share the first-round lead. They were the only ones among the 132-player field to break 70, with 11 players shooting under par.
“We didn’t see the wind the last two days,” Lewis said. “The course was definitely playing tough. You had to manage your ball flight and keep the ball in front of you.”
Lewis has had some success in this event, finishing tied for second to Ben Polland in 2016. He has had two other top-10 finishes.
Lewis did most of his work Thursday on the back nine, where he started his round. After a bogey at the 12th, he birdied the 13th and 14th to get into red figures. He eagled the par-5 16th, when he hit a hybrid from 230 yards to 40 feet and drained the putt.
“That was definitely a bonus there,” said Lewis, who closed with 11 pars. “My putter was working well today. I didn’t have any three-putts and I made a couple of long ones.”
Inglis birdied three of his last six holes to fuel his 69. He also was 3-under on the par-5s.
“I hit three short wedges on par-5s to tap-in distance, so that was kind of nice,” Inglis said. “I didn’t hit it very good, but my chipping and short wedges carried me.”
Inglis led the 2019 event entering the final round, but shot 80 and finished T9. Because of that experience, he was low-key after Thursday’s 69.
“There’s so much golf left to play,” he said. “I always seem to have one bad round, which is easy to do here. Yeah, it’s great to shoot 3-under, but it just doesn’t mean anything right now.”
Svoboda birdied his last two holes, making a 15-footer at the par-3 17th and a 12-footer at the 18th, to cap off his 69. He made four birdies against just one bogey.
“Just kind of hung in there and had a good finish,” Svoboda said. “Play early tomorrow, so hopefully less wind and the greens will be good. Try and make some birdies.”
Brad Donahue, who works at Tumble Creek Club at Suncadia in the Pacific Northwest PGA, also eagled the 16th when he chipped in from 30 yards. He’s alone in fourth place after a 2-under par 70.
“That was definitely the highlight of the round,” said Donahue, who also had three birdies and three bogeys. “Not only was the wind up, but it was from the opposite direction, so you had to factor that in.
“You need to stick to the game plan: Avoid three putts and penalty strokes. It’s going to be a long four days with this wind. It’s not going to be easy.”
Defending champion Jin Chung is tied for 46th after a 4-over par 76. He triple-bogeyed the 12th hole, his third of the day.
Brian Bergstol, runner-up last year to Chung, is among seven players tied for fifth at 1-under 71. The others are Michael Balcar of Brandywine Country Club in Northern Ohio PGA, Paul Schlimm of Chicago Highlands Club in Illinois PGA, Liam Friedman of Wollaston Golf Club in New England PGA, Tyler McArdell of Essex County Country Club in the New Jersey PGA, Shea Wolfle of Meadowbrook Club in the Metropolitan PGA and Peter Ruymann of Oyster Harbors Club in the New England PGA.
The low 70 players and ties after Friday’s second round advance to the weekend.
For more information about the 2022 National Car Rental Assistant PGA Professional Championship, visit HERE.