Foggy warm-up fits Funk to a tee

Visibility poor, he drives balls out of sight


October 05, 2007|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN REPORTER

Warming up yesterday morning on the practice range at Baltimore Country Club for the opening round of the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship, Fred Funk suddenly turned into John Daly or Tiger Woods or some other long hitter.

"I was so excited because I was hitting them out of sight," Funk joked after shooting a 2-under-par 68. "I had never done that before."

Actually, Funk was just hitting his shots out of his sight, which, considering the heavy fog that made the Five Farms course look like Pebble Beach, was probably not as far as he thought.

The fog caused the start of the round to be pushed back more than two hours.

Walter Hall, who was in the second threesome off at 7:30 a.m., birdied his first hole from 20 feet away and made par on his second. Things got a little dicey after that.

"The group in front of us, they were in the fairway at No. 3 and they couldn't see the green, so that's when we stopped," Hall said. "We got off to a good start. I hated to stop, but that's OK. It turned out to be a beautiful day."

Hall actually would get to 5-under through 12 holes before giving back a couple of shots to fall into a five-way tie for the lead.

"Right now, I'm leading the Grand Champions division," said Hall, who turned 60 in June.

Morgan's misery

Gil Morgan came into the par-4 18th hole at 4-under and leading the field by one stroke. It didn't take long for Morgan's mood to change along with his place on the leader board.

Driving through a clump of trees to the left of the fairway, Morgan hit a shot that landed on a road adjacent to the hole. Morgan was allowed to take a drop, but he couldn't advance the ball past the rough. His approach fell short of the green, and after chipping on, he three-putted for a triple-bogey 7.

"It almost went out of bounds, that's all I can say," Morgan said of his drive. "It just completely ruined the round. Other than that, it wasn't disappointing. I thought I played pretty well, especially on the back nine, but I let it get away on one hole and I gave it all back."

Watson contends

After losing the U.S. Senior Open and then winning the Senior British Open, Tom Watson is in contention again at a major. Despite three-putting twice, Watson shot a 1-under 69.

Even for a legend, playing a course for the first time in competition makes for an interesting experience.

"I'm learning the golf course. You don't have to drive every hole," said Watson, 58. "It makes you think. The good thing about this golf course, it makes you think on every shot. There are no freebies."

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