Waynes(boro) World - Smith continues hold on WACO with first-round lead

August 10, 2008|By TIM KOELBLE

Kenny Smith was of the mindset that 4-under par could win the 25th WACO Championship this year.

Little did he expect he would be at that number following Saturday's first round at Beaver Creek Country Club.

The two-time WACO champion fired a 37-31 - 68 to snag a two-stroke lead over Steve Caron and Bernie Deane, setting up what will be the final pairing in today's round.

"The opportunity to score was there today," said Smith, who is the defending champion and 2002 titleholder.

Smith, of Waynesboro, Pa., went on a birdie blitz on the back nine after making the turn at 1-over. He carded five birdies on the back nine on the way to a 31 to tie the WACO back-nine record shared by Chad Bricker and Randy Barnes.

Smith sank two long birdie putts on the front nine and then mixed his birdie putts with chipping on the back nine. His birdie putts ranged from six to 15 feet before he finished with some flair on the 18th hole.


Smith drove within 120 yards of the green on the 375-yard, par-4 dogleg left hole, but his approach fell slightly short of the green. He finished off his round with a perfect birdie chip-in with a gap wedge.

"I made a lot of putts and the two on the front nine were bombs," said Smith.

Smith is part of the Waynesboro connection that has dominated the WACO with wins in each of the last six years.

"I'm just going to come out and play (today) and see what happens," he said. "I'd like to get a third title and join some pretty good company. I'm going to do everything in my power to win. The Waynesboro golfers come here to win."

Greg Henry, the only three-time champion, carded a 1-over-par 73.

Six players fired under par in the first round over the 6,930-yard par-72 Beaver Creek layout.

On the heels of Smith are Deane, of Frederick, Md. and Caron, of Waynesboro, each posting 2-under 70. Hagerstown's Dick Wetzel and former champion Finley Benjamin each had a 1-under 71 as did David Boggs, of Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Deane, who said his golf game has recently been inspired with the birth of his daughter Taylor, gained strokes on the front nine with a 3-under 33, knocking in birdies on the last three holes going out.

"I hit the ball well and maybe missed only one green in regulation," said Deane, who would have had a better day if not for two missed 1 1/2-foot putts. "I enjoyed the day. I'm inspired. I've got no expectations for (today) but just to come out play with the boys like it's a Saturday morning."

Caron got closer to the top with a picture-perfect birdie of his own on No. 18 to finish his best-ever opening round in the WACO.

He hit a gap wedge in from 114 yards to within 10 feet of the cup, setting up his birdie, one of four in the round.

"The greens were tough and really didn't hold, so you had to allow for bounces into the pins," said Caron. "The birdie was big because I was coming off a bogey on 17. I'm pumped."

Shooting even-par 72 were Ken Lampard and Randy Barnes.

Neil Gagnon had the biggest single highlight of the round when he scored a hole-in-one on the par-3 eighth hole from 137 yards. It was the second ace in WACO history.

In today's final round, Smith, Deane and Caron will tee off at 1:50 p.m.

Following the first round, players were split into flights. In the second flight, 13 players are tied at 80, while 12 players are tied at 87 to lead the third flight and five players are atop the fourth flight at 92.

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