POTOMAC -- Coming into the Kemper Open, Scott Gump had no reason to think this would be the start of something big, and maybe it won't be. But for one day, at least, he was in the spotlight.
Gump, a first-year player on the PGA Tour, opened with 6-under-par 65, good for a share of the lead.
In 10 previous events, he had made four cuts, posted a lo round of 69 (twice) and had earned $9,590.
"How was his interview?" asked Chris, his wife of one year an three days, aware that it was a new experience. She had listened but did not have anything to compare it with.
Gump's interview was fine -- birdies, bogeys and highlights, wita background that includes a Middle Atlantic Amateur championship, a semifinal spot in the 1987 U.S. Amateur and a Masters place in 1988.
Many players, Gump included, will tell you the rookie year i tougher than the qualifying school, and he should know. It took the Florida native three tries, but he finally made it, finishing third in December, three shots behind medalist Duffy Waldorf.
"It's been a strange year," Gump said. "I came out with a goo attitude and playing well. I made the cut in three of my first five events but always managed to throw in a high number.
"Then, my wife's father died the week of San Dieg [mid-February], and my dad had open-heart surgery the week of Hattiesburg [mid-April], and I became more impatient quicker than I might have.
"The key to my game is when I'm hitting it well, I play well. Bu overall, it's still a matter of putting -- simple and boring.
"Starting now, it's the beginning of a new year."
* Two-time PGA champion Dave Stockton is working harder as Ryder Cup captain than he did as a member of the PGA Tour, and his golf game shows it.
Before the Kemper, he had played in six events while serving as spokesman for the fall Ryder competition and keeping an eye on potential team members.
He missed the cut in all six but was enthusiastic after a 69 in the first round at Colonial last week.
"I really felt good coming in here," Stockton said, "then wa totally shocked and frustrated yesterday [Wednesday's pro-am, in which he shot 78]. I hit about three fairways, four or five greens and was just so upset."
What a difference a day makes in this game.
"After all that, I'm pleased with this round," Stockton said afte opening with 1-under 35-35, with three birdies, two on the back.
Dirk Schultz, an assistant professional from Yingling's Golf Center in Hagerstown, would be delighted if the scoreboard could be turned upset down, but since it can't, he'll try to forget his first Kemper experience.
Schultz, 26, who led the 176-man "open" qualifying a Montgomery Country Club May 23 with a 67, found the game a little more difficult when the bell rang, shooting what turned out to be the day's high round, 39-4584.
"I couldn't get the edge off," said Schultz, who had been nint and fourth in recent National Long Drive championships but had not been exposed to this level of play.
"I was three over after nine, missed a putt at 10, and there jus was nothing there. I almost hit it in the water on 11, did hit it in the water on 12 and 13." --- 0 ---
Amateur Richard Holland of Columbia Country Club produced the best round among area players with a 2-under 69. The round included five birdies, one a 30-foot putt at No. 9, enabling him to turn even.
"Being an amateur takes the play-for-money pressure off, but put a lot of pressure on myself to do better than last year (75-78).
"Pressure is wanting to see what you can do under th conditions. Right now, it's one round out of two."
What the golfers were saying: * Quotebook: "They could have been three worse holes, but I finished birdie-save-birdie -- three good ones -- and I hope it gets better." -- Donnie Hammond after a 70. . . . "I played better than I scored but couldn't get the speed of the greens right." -- Fred Funk after a "solid" 71. . . . "I missed only three greens but putted awful. It wasn't nerves. I was more nervous with the president." -- Holly Hills pro Mike McGinnis, in his first Kemper, who finished with three successive bogeys for 75. . . . "I hit it badly off the tee and was lucky to shoot 78." -- Baltimore pro Chris Peddicord.
MISCELLANEOUS: Maryland Open champion Bob Boyd o Woodmont Country Club got to 3-under through 13 holes, then gave them back to finish at 71. . . . Defending champion Gil Morgan shot 73.