Carter has lead in Beau Pré Championship

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 20, 2010

NATCHEZ — A run of three straight birdies midway through the back nine Saturday afternoon allowed Mark Carter to take the first-round lead in the championship flight at the 2010 Beau Pré Club Championship at 1-under-par 71.

Carter had one birdie and one bogey en route to a front-nine 36. A bogey on No. 12 put him at 1-over-par before he ran off birdies on 13, 14 and 15 to move to 2-under-par. However, a bogey on the tough par-3 16th hole back to 1-under for the day before he parred the 17th and 18th holes to finish his round.

“I hit it about as good as I could possibly hit it. I didn’t putt particularly well,” Carter said. “Sixteen is a tough hole. I could have done two or three shots better. Just a little frustrated with my putting. But that’s one of the best round of golf I’ve ever played, so I can’t complain.”

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With the temperature soaring well into the 90s and really fast greens Saturday, par was a good score on several holes throughout the course for the 36 players. Of course, that was easier said than done.

Three-time and defending champion Lloyd Trisler, who shot an opening-round 65 last year, somehow managed to shoot an even-par 72, putting him just one shot behind Carter and in strong position to win this tournament in consecutive years and for the fourth time overall. He had three birdies and three bogeys.

Yet Trisler said he was “lucky” to be in contention. “I hit the ball terribly and putted as good as I have all my life,” he said. “Greens are very fast. The rough is not as bad as it has been.”

And then there is a logjam of players who shot 2-over-par 74 — five of them, to be exact. Those five are Stephen Hollingsworth, Howard Jones, Wesley Rogers, Kevin Smith Jr. and Rob Smith.

While Hollingsworth said he didn’t play his way out of contention on Saturday, he added that he’s going to have to play a lot better today to have any chance of winning this tournament.

“Course is playing great. It’s playing extremely difficult. Greens are extremely fast. Tom Bryant and Dee Barron got this in great shape. It’s as good as I’ve ever seen it,” Hollingsworth said. “I didn’t play that well. I had three penalty shots. It was hot and it took some patience. I had four birdies, three bogeys and one double bogey.”

Jones said he was hitting the ball well early on in his round, but as the day wore on it got worse and worse.

“The golf course is in absolutely perfect condition. Greens are so fast that it’s hard to make birdie putts,” said Jones, who had two birdies to go with four bogeys. “It’s anyone’s tournament.

Rogers was 3-under-par through six holes before his round started going the wrong way. Over the last 12 holes, Rogers shot 5-over-par and was the first of the five to shoot 74 on the day.

Smith, who had two birdies and four bogeys, described his round as “good and bad” and added that he was fortunate not to have shot an even higher score.

“Got up and down. Made some putts. Scrambled around,” Smith said. “Greens are in real good shape. Sometimes you have to scratch out what you can scratch out. It’s not won on the first day. I bogeyed 15 and 16. That hurt. Sixteen was tough. It’ll be even tougher if (the hole location) is put in the back tomorrow.”

Tee times for today’s final round start at noon and it is expected to just as hot as it was on Saturday.