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Two share BCCC Invitational lead

July 12, 1998|By LARRY YANOS

Marty Miller and Tracy Piper shot rounds of 74 to grab the opening round Gross Division lead of the 40th Annual Beaver Creek Country Club Invitational on Saturday.

Derek Ausherman, Chris Cantone and Ross Ellberg shared second place at 76, while Lee DeGrange, Ken Lampard and Jamie Young fired rounds of 77.

Miller, Tom Davies and Ed Ridenour led the Net Division at 68, followed by Piper, Gary Dingle, Jerry Janson and Phil Healey at 71 and Mitch Wright, Ron Wetzel, Chris Cantone and Jamie Young at 72.

The 66-man field will complete the 36-hole tournament today with the leaders teeing off at 10 a.m.

Both Miller and Piper are Beaver Creek Country Club members.

"It was kind of up and down the first six holes, but I think I played steady golf after that," the 53-year-old Miller said. "The course was in excellent shape, and the greens were true. It was best if you bounced the ball on the green and run it up (to the cup)."

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Miller bogeyed Nos. 1, 4, 6, 11 and 12 while recording birdies on Nos. 9, 15 and 16.

"I almost had an eagle on 15," Miller said. "I hit a driver and a 5-wood within 4 feet of the cup, but I missed the putt and had to settle for a birdie. And on (the par-3) 16th, I just missed a hole-in-one."

Overall, Miller was pleased with his opening round and looks forward to today's challenge.

"There's a two-way tie for the lead now, but anybody who shot 80 or less has a chance to win," Miller said. "I will try to stay calm and patient and keep the ball in the fairway. If I can do that and sink a few putts, I'll be OK."

The 35-year-old Piper also looks forward to the second round.

"I just came off vacation, and I was a little rusty," Piper said. "I was eager to play and I have no complaints about my overall game. I missed some short birdie putts, or the score would have been lower."

The highlight of Piper's day was an eagle on No. 4. He used a driver off the tee, then used a pitching wedge to sink his second shot from 130 yards.

He also added birdies on Nos. 2 and 11 while suffering bogeys on Nos. 1, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 17.

"I don't think I played very well on the front nine. I was too inconsistent," Piper said. "I missed some putts I should have made, but I played a lot better on the back nine."

Piper knows what he'll have to do to win.

"I've been in this position before, and I know I must play relaxed, play my game," Piper said. "I was surprised at some of the scores because the course is in good shape, and the playing conditions were excellent."

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