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WACO goes an extra day

August 15, 2005|by TIM KOELBLE

koelble@herald-mail.com

Maybe it's a good thing not to be the leader after the first round of the WACO Open.

In recent years, the champion has not been the first-round leader, and the 22nd edition of the WACO won't be any different when a nine-hole playoff determines the winner this evening.

Steve Caron charged from four strokes back in the pack with a 2-under-par 70 that forged a tie with Chad Bricker, who shot a 1-over-par 73. The two ended at 1-under-par 143, setting up the extra nine holes of play on Beaver Creek Country Club's back nine, beginning at 5:30.

First-round leader Ken Lampard, whose 69 was one shot better than Bricker's 70, fell into a quandary with his driver and ballooned to a 77.

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Kenny Smith, the 2002 WACO champion, followed his 76 with a sterling 4-under-par 68 to finish at 144 with Denny Stoner, who fashioned a 2-under 70. Two-time defending champion Kevin Reiber couldn't get anything rolling and ended with a 73 for a two-day 147 card.

"I'm disappointed with today, but I've got another chance," said Bricker, at one time 4-under par when he birdied the par-4 420-yard 6th hole, while Lampard posted a bogey to fall to 1-under.

While Bricker was rolling, so was Caron, who started with birdies at 2, 4 and 5.

Bricker eventually posted bogies on 7, 11 and 12, and Caron caught up with Bricker at 2-under when he birdied the par-5, 517-yard 15th hole. Bricker, in the final group behind Caron, managed to par the 15th after his second shot strayed deep behind the green, forcing a delicate chip that resulted in a two-putt for par.

The drama continued to unfold as Caron bogied 18 at the same time Bricker was forced to take a penalty stroke when he went out of bounds with a tee shot on 17. But Bricker recovered nicely for a bogey.

Bricker still had a chance to win it on the par-4 370-yard 18th when he launched his drive that set up a 98-yard wedge.

He was on line to the green but the ball fell nipping the front fringe, and his subsequent putt was on his intended line but fell short on the birdie attempt.

"I used my 60 degree wedge and hit it solid but it just wasn't hard enough to get to the green," said Bricker. "And the putt was on line to the middle of the cup, but I just didn't hit it either."

Bricker also birdied the par-5, 511-yard 9th and said, "I wanted to run away with it then. I had a three-putt on 12 and I hit an iron off the tee on 17 that hit in the fairway but took a bounce to the right OB."

Caron knew he was tied with Bricker as he readied for his approach shot on 18.

"I hit a gap wedge, but I just didn't get enough carry," said Caron, of the ball that bounced backward off the green and left him with a 50-foot pitch that ultimately resulted in the bogey.

"I played very solid golf ... not my best, but solid," Caron said. "I didn't think I had a chance to come from behind, but I played the best I could."

Lampard, who defends his Maryland Mid-Amateur title today in Bel Air, Md., couldn't control the big stick.

"I was all over the place," he said. "Yesterday I got away with it, today I didn't. It was a struggle."

Darren Wishard posted a five-stroke win in the second flight with a 78-76-154, Scott Steiner took first place in the third flight with an 85-80-165 and Larry Ambrose won the fourth flight with a 90-83-173.

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