GOLF ROUNDUP : Stadler Adjusts, Shares Series Lead
Craig Stadler’s love affair with Firestone Country Club has even survived a change of courses.
Stadler birdied the last four holes Thursday to complete a 5-under-par 65 that gave him a share of the first-round lead in the World Series of Golf in Akron, Ohio, with Loren Roberts.
PGA and British Open champion Nick Price, who has won three of the last four tournaments he has played in, was cruising along at three under par and threatening the leaders when he put his tee shot into the water on the 184-yard 17th and made a bogey 4. The native of Zimbabwe, the only multiple winner on the PGA Tour this year, finished at 68, tied with U.S. Open champion Ernie Els of South Africa.
It was Price’s first competitive round since winning the PGA title on Aug. 14 and then undergoing office surgery the next day for possible skin cancer.
Stadler’s closing burst lifted him into the tie with Roberts and ahead of an international field of 49 that is chasing a $360,000 winner’s share of the $2 million purse.
Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain, Mark McCumber and Jeff Maggert were a stroke back. Maggert chipped in for an eagle 2 as the highlight of his 66 and McCumber played without a bogey and without a “5" on his card.
Greg Norman of Australia led a large group at 67 that included Billy Mayfair, Steve Lowery, South African David Frost and Australian Ian Baker-Finch.
Stadler is looking to the World Series as a revival to his game for the third consecutive year.
“I caught a little bit of fire there at the end,” he said.
This time, however, it is on a different course, the shorter, water-laced North course that was pressed into service on an emergency basis last month when the South course--site of this tournament since its inception in 1962--suddenly lost its greens to a mysterious blight.
The change didn’t seem to bother Stadler at all, but he admitted he “was a little disappointed,” when it was announced.
Martha Nause birdied the last three holes to shoot a seven-under-par 65, which was good for a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the LPGA du Maurier Classic at Ottawa.
Leigh Ann Mills, Kelly Robins, Debbie Massey and Michelle McGann were all at 66 on the rain-soaked 6,400-yard Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club course.