A combination of solid hitting and clutch putting produced a course record-tying round for Josh Persons on Friday.
The 27-year-old from Fargo, N.D., shot a blistering nine-under par 63 during the opening round of the 20th Annual Western Printing Pro-Am golf tournament at Moccasin Creek Country Club.
It just worked out good, said Persons, who tied the 63 turned in by fellow pro Dustin Wigington in the same tournament in 2005. I started off hitting it solid and then I got a few rolling in a row; 10, 11 and 12, I made some putts and it was off to the races after that. I just kind of held on for dear life coming in.
Persons, who won the Pro-Am in 2008 in a four-hole playoff, said the key is staying aggressive, especially when the shots are connecting.
Today, it was a little easier to be aggressive, because I was playing well. I was hitting it well, he said. As long as you stay aggressive, good things happen. That's all you have to think about.
Persons owns a two-shot lead over Brandon Crick of Omaha, Neb. A host of others lurk behind. Two-time defending champion A.J. Elgert of Lincoln, Neb., is nine shots off the pace.
Persons knows there is plenty of competition in pursuit, but for now enjoys being the front-runner.
You want the lead. You don't have to make any ground up, he said. That's a great thing, but you never know, there's plenty of good golfers out here to shoot good scores.
Action resumes at 7:30 this morning. When Persons tees off at 2:03 p.m., he knows he probably won't shoot another course-record round, but hopes to keep playing strong.
You have to have real expectations. You're going to miss some shots, he said. You have to do the best you can. Obviously, it's not going to be 9-under every day. You get things going in the right direction and good things happen.
Persons is banking on his opening-round formula of hitting and putting to help carry him through to another title.
(To watch Persons' course-record tying final putt, go to http://www.aberdeennews.com)
As long as you putt well, I think you have a chance, Persons said. It keeps you in contention no matter how you hit it. Hopefully, I keep the putter going the next few days and things should work out well.
One cool cart
There are many nice golf carts at the Pro-Am, but one definitely stands out from the rest.
It belongs to Gordie Munson of Milbank and it is fully loaded.
It comes with headlights, turn signals, a horn, various coolers, a pull down canopy and an AF-FM XM Radio.
A radio in a golf cart?
You have to listen to the Twins and stuff like that, Munson explained.
The vehicle is street legal and nicer than many vehicles that are on the street.