ORLANDO – A cold front swept through Central Florida earlier this week, bringing rain and some cooler temperatures in time for Wednesday’s opening round of the U.S. Super Senior and Legends National Championship at Walt Disney World Resort’s Palm Course.
“The course was really difficult today,” said Garrett Garland of Huntersville, N.C., who is leading the Legends division (ages 70 and older) after posting a 1-under 71. “If you hit a high shot you’re at a disadvantage because the course was so wet. You’d wind up with a huge chunk of mud on your ball.”
For Garland, at least one thing is more important than golf: he is involved with Purple Heart Homes, a charity that builds and remodels houses for disabled veterans. Garland, who is also a wounded veteran, has had more surgeries than he cares to remember. Amazingly, with two eyes that can barely focus because both orbital bones were shattered, and a shoulder with no muscle to lift it above his head, he still maintains a plus-handicap index playing the game he loves.
“Golf gives me a chance to relax and find some peace,” Garland said. “It helps me recharge and get on with the business of helping others.”
Sitting alone in second place in the Legends division is Randolph Russell of Saint Simons Island, Ga., who carded a 72.
John Armstrong of Frostburg, Md., finished with an opening round of 72 in the Super Senior division to lead both Buddy Lundquist of Sanford, Fla., and Dr. Rob Hess of Casselberry, Fla., by one shot.
“I came in a few days early to really get the feel of the course,” Armstrong said. “It’s pretty much right in front of you but there are subtle breaks on the greens.”
Both Armstrong and Hess are ranked in the top 5 of the Golfweek National Super Senior Rankings.