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Lampard, Bricker heat WACO

August 14, 2005|By TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

Ken Lampard took the back nine in his hand, while Chad Bricker had the front nine in control.

The two are at the top of the leaderboard after carding the only two sub-par rounds as 186 golfers sweltered over 6,900 yards through 101-degree heat in the opening round of the 22nd WACO Championship on Saturday at Beaver Creek Country Club.

Lampard, using an eagle-3 on the par-5 545-yard 9th hole that got his front nine to even-par 36, got even hotter coming in with four birdies to take the lead away from Bricker, who posted a 2-under-par 70.

The veteran Hagerstown golfer had consecutive birdies on 15, 16 and 17 for a 33 and a 3-under 69. He took advantage of his length off the tees on the par 5s, playing them in 5-under par.

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"I was shaky off the tee but everything began to fall in place," said Lampard. "That eagle got me thinking to play good on the back nine, and for me, that nine is always good for me."

Bricker, coming off a good performance in the Pennsylvania Open earlier this week, notched three birdies on a front-nine 33 and played the back nine to par except for a hiccup on the par-4 440-yard 17th, when he bogied the hole after being 130 yards from the green following his tee ball.

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"I played solid golf on the front nine but a little disappointed with the back," said Bricker. "I could have been better. After making the turn a 3-under, I thought it could be better with two reachable par 5s."

Bricker said he probably "left four shots on the back nine," missing some putts.

"I thought the greens rolled good, but there were some tight lies in the fairways and the rough," he said.

Ken Winfield was next in line with an even-par 72 that led a group of 10 golfers who were within five shots of Lampard.

John Kingora, Tim Steiner, Randy Barnes and Steve Caron each shot 1-over-par 73, and a host of golfers, including two-time defending champion Kevin Reiber, were at 2-over-par 74.

Unusual for Reiber, he went the entire round without a birdie. He had a three-putt bogey on the first hole and another bogey on 12 and never got into the flow with his putter.

"I would not have come out expecting to go without a bird," said Reiber, who was behind by four strokes last year before rallying to grab the tournament title. "It's not like I was trying to come out and shoot a 62 I hit the ball OK, I just didn't make any putts."

He still has expectations for today because he's of the opinion he is a better "chaser."

"I was four behind last year, five behind in the states and sometimes it's just good to get to Sunday," he said.

Also posting 74 was past champion Chuck Ingram while tournament director Rod Steiner led a group at 75. Kenny Smith, the 2002 winner and always a contender, opened with a disappointing 76, unable to keep his putter in check. Three-time champion Greg Henry had a 77.

Lampard, who won't have to tee off today until 2:10 p.m., with Bricker and Winfield in the final group, said he would probably use some practice time before the round today.

"I'm really not comfortable right now," said Lampard, who will also defend his title Monday in the Maryland Mid-Amateur Championship.

Flighted play begins this morning at 6:20 and those in the championship flight will begin their rounds at 12:30.

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