LUMBERTON — Talking to Bob McQueen after the opening round of the Robeson County Golf Championships, presented by Dial Insurance, it would be hard to tell he was leading the super seniors division.
“I played well,” McQueen said. “I enjoyed it. I missed a couple of shots but I played good.”
By playing good, McQueen means he shot a 2-over-par 74 and had a one stroke lead heading into the second and final round today at Pinecrest Country Club.
Larry McNeill and Truman Lowry are both sitting one stroke back at 75. Ronnie Hunt capped off a 76 to sit in fourth with Paul Hunt and Gerald Strickland closing out the top five with a pair of 77s.
“It didn’t go like I planned to,” McNeill said. “Certain holes I fell asleep and that hurts your round. When you’re out here in this kind of match, you have to be on your game.”
McNeill made his charge on the back nine, posting an even par 36 after going 3-over on the front.
“I’m not satisfied with my round because it could have been at least four or five strokes better,” McNeill said.
Ronnie Hunt is sitting just back of McNeill after carding a 76 on his round.
“It went pretty good,” Hunt said. “I had too many bogey’s.”
For Gerald Strickland, who was in the first group out, the round was a pleasant one as his 77 has him tied for fifth going to today’s round.
“The course played beautifully,” Strickland said. “The layout was good. The greens and the fairways hit beautiful. I just started out with three bogeys then I had to come back and start hitting pars and had a couple birdies.”
After going 6-over on the front nine, Strickland used a 1-under 35 on the back nine to move back into contention. For Strickland, that is what he has come to expect from this course.
“Most of the time I end up playing the back really well,” Strickland said. “I wound up having a few birdies back there and shot a good score.”
Strickland also said the changing from the senior tees to the super senior tees may have thrown his game off in the early going.
“I’m used to hitting from the senior tees and today it made a difference hitting from the golds,” he said. “I’m not used to being that close. I think that’s why I was holding back on my clubs.”
The overall impression of the added division was a good one. For McNeill, it will bring a good competition for the older players.
“I think it’s going to be a success,” McNeill said. “There are about seven, eight or nine super seniors that could win this thing and we’ll just see what happens.”
With 18 players putting their name into the hat for the competition, 12 players are within 10 strokes of the lead, with seven closing out the first round with scores in the 70s.
“We have some good players in this super senior division,” Strickland said. “To win this thing, you have to be under par.”
One player who didn’t feel too much of a difference was the leader after day one.
“I played in the seniors last year, and it’s just shorter tees,” McQueen said. “It’s really just the same to me. I just enjoy playing the game of golf and enjoy meeting people.”