Brooking struggles in day 1 of USGA tourney

Published 12:01 am Sunday, September 22, 2013

CASHIERS, N.C. — It wasn’t the opening round Greg Brooking of Natchez had envisioned Saturday morning at the 59th USGA Senior Amateur Championship at Wade Hampton Golf Club.

Brooking got off to a rough start and compounded his round with two double bogeys on the back nine to finish at 14-over-par 86. He is currently in a tie for 67th place and is 17 shots back of first-round leader Chip Lutz of Reading, Pa., who had a round of 3-under-par 69 and was the only player to finish his round under par.

“I didn’t play very good. I was pretty nervous. It’s a pretty big tournament for me,” Brooking said. “I guess my nerves got to me. Just being nervous was a big factor out there.”

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Another factor for Brooking was the weather. The same cold front that produced the heavy rain in the Miss-Lou came through North Carolina first with strong wind and then torrential rain.

“When we started play, the front came through and there was heavy wind in front of the rain,” Brooking said. “The rain started on the eighth hole and we played through it. I didn’t play very well through it. It’s some bad weather over here.”

Brooking started his round on No. 10 and almost immediately his round started going in the wrong direction. After a disappointing par on the par-5 10th, he double-bogeyed the par-3 11th and then went six-over-par over a six-hole stretch, including a double bogey on the par-4 14th to come in at 44. Then he bogeyed six of the first seven holes on his back nine, the front nine holes on the course, to go out in 42.

“(The course) played real hard. The morning groups had to play in the rain. When the rain came it, the wind quit,” Brooking said. “These are the fastest greens I’ve ever putted on. It took me a long time to get used to putting on greens this fast. It was a good experience. I’ve enjoyed the experience of it.”

Lutz played exceptionally well despite the less-than-ideal weather conditions to have a three-shot lead. However, 78 players were unable to complete their round because of the inclement weather. They will finish their round this morning beginning 6:30 a.m.

“He must have teed off 10 minutes behind me. He must play real good in that weather,” Brooking said. “You shoot under par, and it doesn’t matter what the weather is. You shoot what I shot today, it does matter.”

Brooking said he would have to shoot somewhere around even par to make the cut and be in the match-play portion of the tournament.

“I have a pretty good chance,” he said. “Normally, that wouldn’t make it. Seven- or eight-over would make it. It all depends on what happens with the other 78 players out there. They’re all good. It’s hard to shoot what I shot.”

Brooking is schedule to tee off at 3:10 p.m., but with play suspended and the rest of the players still having to complete their rounds, Brooking will be unable to finish his second round until Monday.