Ron Carter of Monticello, Ind., took advantage of perfect scoring conditions on the Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., posting a 4-under 68 to lead the senior division of the Golfweek Senior Amateur by three strokes.
His six-birdie, two-bogey card included a birdie on the difficult par-3 13th and gave Carter an impressive three-shot lead over Steven Hakes of San Diego and David Pocknall of Katy, Texas.
Carter, ranked fourth in the Golfweek Senior Amateur rankings, said he didn’t know what to expect after a problem with his foot caused him to finish T-72 at last week’s Senior Masters.
“I’ve had a problem with plantar fascia in my foot for a while and I never know what the pain will be like when I shift my weight during my swing,” Carter said. “I had a cortisone shot a couple of weeks ago and it’s finally starting to feel better.”
The 63-year-old Carter, who retired after spending 40 years in the insurance business, said he has been working on his game, just trying to make sure the clubface is square at impact.
“It seems like such an easy game and simple concept, but is so hard to do,” Carter said. “I’ve been trying to spend about 75 percent of my time on my short game when my foot would allow me. Now that it’s feeling better, I’ll be able to work on my game more.”
In the Super Senior division, Mack Clapp of Missoula, Mont., and John Richart of La Quinta are tied after both posted 1-under 71 rounds on the Stadium Course.
The Legends division saw Robert Fouke of Broken Arrow, Okla., and Fred Rowland of Leawood, Kan., post identical 73s to share a solid five-shot lead over the rest of the division.
The highlight of the day was 73-year-old Fred Rowland’s ace on the difficult par-3 13th hole. “It’s very special to shoot your age and get a hole-in-one,” Rowland said after his round. Rowland’s ace was followed by a birdie on the par-4 14th hole. “I hit the approach right at the flag and it stopped right on the lip – almost went in for an eagle.”
The second round will see the field move to the spectacular Nicklaus Tournament Course, where perfect course and weather conditions should lead to more low scores.