E.A. Sports Today

Driggers disappointed

Anniston CC pro shoots 81 in opening-round of PGA Professional Championship, looking for a better day Monday

By East Alabama Sports Today
 
BLUFFTON, S.C. –
The PGA Professional Championship is set up like a major because the top players in the field get to play in one. That means greens that are firm and fast.
 
Anniston Country Club pro Steven Driggers didn’t hit it all that bad during his first round of the championship Sunday, but the greens and probably some early nerves took their toll on his round.
 
Driggers had 37 putts in a 10-over-par 81 on the East Course at Belfair. Sawgrass (Fla.) Country Club director of golf Ron Philo, the 2006 champion, holds a one-shot lead on the 312-player field after a 6-under 66 on the West Course. Driggers plays the West Course Monday at 7:35 a.m. (CT).
 
Alabama’s other two players in the field, Shoal Creek’s Eric Williamson and Old Overton’s Todd McCorkle, shot 72 and 76, respectively.

“Most of my issues today can be directly attributed to bad putting,” Driggers said. “I didn’t hit it great looking back at it, but 37 putts isn’t going to do you any good no matter what you’re doing. When you’re playing in a big event you just can’t have that many putts.
 
“This is set up like a major championship. The greens were firm – really, really firm. Approach shots were difficult to get close to the hole. I hit several shots that were really, really well struck that hit the green and went over the back.”
 
Driggers, 49, double-bogeyed the first two par-3s on the front, missing them both short off the tee, chipping up and three-putting. He was 6-over at the turn.
 
“We played practice rounds the last two days, so I knew what we were getting into, but it was pretty difficult,” Driggers said. “The golf courses are set up really, really difficult.”
 
The field will be cut to the low 90 scores and ties after Monday’s round and the low 70 and ties after Tuesday. The top 20 scorers earn a spot in the 101stPGA Championship, May 16-19, at Bethpage Black.
 
“I told my caddy we’ve got nothing to lose tomorrow; we’re going to have to fire at everything,” Driggers said. “With the way conditions are I think 5-over is going to make the cut. That means I’ve got to shoot 5-under. I’m obviously disappointed about the round today. Hopefully I’ll go out tomorrow and play a good bit better. If not, I’ll be back there tomorrow evening.”
 



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