Dickerson off to fast start at Stadion Classic
ATHENS, Ga. – Three tournaments in the first two months? The Nationwide Tour’s far-reaching schedule couldn’t have been worse for Bubba Dickerson.
“I was playing a lot of good golf,” said Dickerson, who after two early top 10s is sixth on the Nationwide money list ($80,475). “I’d go back home and shoot 65 every day, and I’m thinking, ‘Come on, can’t we play a tournament?’ ”
And, naturally, when the Nationwide Tour returned to the States, in late March, Dickerson injured his back. He missed the cut in San Francisco, and last week couldn’t swing a club the day before the South Georgia Classic. (He missed the cut there, too.)
A few trips to the physical therapy tent apparently did wonders, and Dickerson shot a 6-under 65 Thursday to take an early two-shot lead over 47-year-old Marco Dawson at the Stadion Classic at UGA. Dickerson bogeyed the 488-yard, par-4 18th to fall one stroke shy of tying the University of Georgia Golf Course record.
Playing in the fourth group, Dickerson faced difficult early-morning conditions: It was 40 degrees for his 7:45 a.m. tee time; the ball was going nowhere; and he was wearing layers of clothes. (“Thank God for Under Armour,” he said.) Still, all seven of his birdies were from inside 15 feet.
“A lot of these holes you’re either real close or real far away – there’s no in between,” Dawson said, and he would know: On the par-4 ninth, his last hole of the day, Dawson pulled his approach shot left into the double green, about 100 feet from the flag.
“Nice punch,” his caddie, Joe Warren, told Dawson as he rapped the ball up one mound, down another and through the fringe to within 10 feet. He two-putted for par to stay two back of the early leader.
“You can have some long shots out here,” Dawson said, “but today, they all seemed to turn out OK.”