No-Names Dot 84 Lumber Classic Leaderboard
Friday, September 19th 2003, 12:00 am
News On 6
FARMINGTON, Pa. (AP) _ Here's the lowdown on the first round of the 84 Lumber Classic: Turn the PGA Tour money list upside down and there are most of the leaders.
With most of the name players sitting out the weekend _ only one of the top 20 money winners is competing _ it's no surprise that the leaderboard was filled mostly with no-names and non-winners.
And they don't get much more unknown than Gavin Coles, who struggled last year on the Nationwide Tour yet found himself tied for the lead with Donnie Hammond at 7-under 65. Or Brent Schwarzrock, Grant Waite or Michael Clark II, all a stroke back at 66 even though none of the three ranks among the top 160 money winners.
Add up that group's PGA Tour earnings for the year, and it would rank only No. 106, barely high enough to retain a Tour card.
``I've been playing so badly,'' said Coles, a 34-year-old Australian. ``Seven birdies, no bogeys, that's quite unusual. My rounds usually have a few bogeys in them.''
There were some identifiable names close to top following Thursday's round: Rocco Mediate, a western Pennsylvania native, among a group at 4-under 68 and British Open champion Ben Curtis among those at 69. The question is when they'll get a chance to make their move.
As the leading edge of Isabel approached, a steady rain began falling and the winds picked up, with much more rain predicted overnight.
If too much rain saturates the course, the second round likely would be pushed back to Saturday, with 36 holes to follow on Sunday.
Many in the field were gearing themselves for delays Friday, maybe even a washout.
``If we have to play 36 on Sunday, that's what we'll do,'' Waite said. ``This year has been terrible. ... Put it this way: at Reno, we got a rain delay, and it rains there only once every 10 years.''
Coles, playing before the weather turned nasty at the mountaintop Nemacolin Woodlands resort, made three birdies putts of 20 feet or longer. The best was a 45-footer at the 183-yard, par-3 No. 17.
``That's the thing that's been getting me _ making just one or two birdies in a round,'' he said. ``You're not going to compete out here doing that. You have to go out there and make seven birdies to compete with these guys.''
Coles is 228th among the money leaders at $38,330, so low he's not even on the list carried on the PGATour.com Web site. He would barely rank in the Top 100 on the developmental Nationwide Tour.
The 46-year-old Hammond isn't much higher at No. 167, yet is trying to emulate last year's Pennsylvania Classic champion, Dan Forsman, who was 44 at the time. Eight Tour winners this year are 40 or over, including last weekend's John Deere Classic champion, Vijay Singh.
With the 7,726-yard Mystic Rock course's wide and inviting fairways swallowing up accurate and errant tee shots alike, even the bad weather might not be enough to adversely affect the scores the rest of the weekend.
``The fairways are more generous than what we are used to on the PGA Tour, so it is really going to be, for the most part, a second-shot-and-in challenge,'' Waite said.
``Yeah, you could throw it pretty much right at the pin with a 5-iron, maybe a 6-iron,'' Hammond said. ``It makes it easier to get to the pin; the greens are really slow out there. It would be a lot more difficult if they were harder.''