Woosnam,Knox share PGA lead 5-under-par rounds come before storm XTC

August 09, 1991|By Reid Hanley | Reid Hanley,Chicago Tribune

CARMEL, Ind. -- The leader board after the first round of the 73rd PGA Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club yesterday had the long and short of it. Co-leaders Ian Woosnam and Kenny Knox each shot 5-under-par 67s.

The tournament was scarred by the death of 39-year-old Thomas Weaver of nearby Fishers, Ind., who was struck by lightning at a parking lot about a mile from the course. Play was suspended at 2 p.m. because of thunderstorms. Weaver was struck shortly after 2:30 p.m.

Play resumed at 4 p.m. but was suspended again because of darkness at 7:50 p.m. with 27 players on the course.

Woosnam and Knox, who finished before the rain came, are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to length off the tee. The 5-foot-4-inch extra-long-hitting Woosnam, who won the Masters in April, was expected to contend on the wet 7,289-yard Pete Dye-designed Stick. Knox, who is 162nd on the PGA Tour driving list, is something of a surprise.

"The tees were up, and that favored me," said Knox, who sank two shots from the fairway for eagles. "I hope it doesn't rain until Monday. I know the farmers need it, but I don't need any rain. This course is long enough.

"Some of the par-4s I can't even reach in two if the tees are back. If there is any mud out there, I'm in trouble."

Woosnam and Knox have a one-shot lead on a group of four that surprisingly includes former Masters and British Open champion Sandy Lyle and slumping Ken Green. Bruce Lietzke and former Masters champion Craig Stadler are also at 68.

Before the rain turned the dirt to mud, Knox played his last 10 holes in 7-under par. He started his round with bogeys on two of the first four holes, but he holed out a 45-yard wedge shot on the par-5 ninth for an eagle, birdied the par-4 10th and then holed out a 168-yard 5-iron shot for an eagle on the par-4 12th.

"The shot on No. 9 was luck, but it had to be hit where I hit it," said Knox, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour. "To hole out twice is very unusual. I played a good round but didn't putt very well. By the same token, I don't think I left a lot of shots out there."

Crooked Stick is the second-longest course ever to be host to the PGA Championship. The longest was Columbine Country Club in Denver, with its rarefied air. Players here wore out their long irons on par-4 holes like the 457-yard fourth, the 468-yard 14th and the 469-yard 16th. PGA officials took pity on the field and moved the tees up on several holes. Knox called them "LPGA tees," and Woosnam agreed.

"It was two shots easier today than yesterday," he said. "The tees are up 20 yards on some holes. If you hit it straight off the tee, you've got a chance at getting some good scores on this course. It all depends on how you drive. I drive the ball well. It made it easier for me."

Woosnam, taking advantage of the soft fairways, used his driver on all but two driving holes. The 33-year-old Welshman had six birdies and one bogey in the best opening round he has ever had in a major championship.

Former champion Raymond Floyd is in a group of six at 69. Nick Faldo, searching for a PGA title to go with his two Masters and two British Opens, former British Open champion Greg Norman, three-time U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin and former British Open champion Mark Calcavecchia are in a large group at 69.

With the tees up, soft greens and no wind, Crooked Stick was ready to be taken. There were 35 players under par and 13 at even par. Tom Sieckmann is 4-under par after 16 holes and Larry Mize is 3-under par through 15.

With more rain possible today, Knox knows he's going to be at a disadvantage. He described his chances of winning as "shaky" and is just trying to finish under par.



The leaders ...

Kenny Knox .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 36-31-67

Ian Woosnam .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . 35-32-67

... and followers

Craig Stadler .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 33-35-68

Sandy Lyle .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 34-34-68

Ken Green .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ... 35-33-68

Bruce Lietzke .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 34-34-68

Raymond Floyd .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 33-36-69

Greg Norman .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. . 37-33-70

Nick Faldo .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 33-37-70

Hale Irwin .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 36-34-70

Fred Funk .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ... 36-35-71

Jack Nicklaus .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 36-35-71

Seve Ballesteros .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 35-36-71

Tom Watson .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 37-37-74

Arnold Palmer .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 39-38-77

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