Notebook: Rains lead to long rounds
Just a routine 9-hour day on the golf course for John Aber on Thursday.
Aber, the golf professional at Allegheny Country Club, teed off in the first round of the Pennsylvania Classic at 8:59 a.m. and didn’t complete his round until 6:19 p.m.
Of course, there was a 4-hour and 10-minute storm delay in between, but he was still smiling after shooting a 1-over par 73.
‘I felt pretty comfortable out there,’ he said. ‘I didn’t play too, too bad, a few stray shots but not too bad.’
He birdied the second and 12th holes and made bogeys on the third, fifth and 16th.
‘I just kind of hung around, talked to my family and sat around the clubhouse,’ Aber said. ‘The greens were definitely more accessible after the rain, but the fairways were softer, too.’
Aber qualified to play in the tournament by winning the Tri-State Section Championship, as did John Mazza (1-over after four holes) of Montour Heights Country Club and Brad Westfall (2-under after 3 holes) of Tygart Country Club in Grafton, W.Va.
Steve Wheatcroft of Washington, Pa., got into the field in a Monday qualifier at Quicksilver Golf Club and got off to something of a rocky start on his front nine. He birdied the fifth, but triple-bogeyed the seventh and bogeyed the eighth for a 39. He made nine straight pars on the back for a 75 total.
The Pennsylvania Classic galleries suffered on Thursday as a result of the dangerous weather that moved through, but the forecast is better for the next three days and tournament officials remind fans that tickets can be purchased at the gate each day.
Daily tickets are $40 and fans can buy a three-day pass for $100. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the tournament office (724) 837-3117 and tickets will be left at the will call gate. Done that way, prices are $35 for the daily.
Tickets bought through the office can only be purchased a day in advance.
Two players withdrew before the start of the first round: Doug Barron and Phil Tataurangi. Both cited illness as their reason.
With the national events of the past week and the Pennsylvania Classic being the first PGA event since those events, there has been increased interest on a national level of activities at Laurel Valley Golf Club.
Press credentials were issued to the Washington Post, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Sports Illustrated, Associated Press, Australian Associated Press, the Golf Channel, ESPN, PGATour.com, Golf World and Golf Magazine.
Nick Price has been in the 60s in four of his last five rounds. … Three players who played full rounds Thursday did so without a bogey – Steve Flesch and Mark Calcavecchia (-3) and Jeff Julian (-1). … Thirteen countries are represented in this year’s field. … Other scores of note: Stuart Appleby 76, Paul Azinger 70, Steve Elkington 70, Curtis Strange 76.