LUMBERTON — Bob McQueen wore a black hat with the acronym H.2.B.H on it on Friday as he competed in the Super Senior Division of the 36th annual Robeson County Golf Championship, sponsored by Dial Insurance, at Pinecrest Country Club.
It’s part of the reason he had a happy demeanor walking off the 18th green.
The acronym stood for “happy to be here” and the 78-year-old had a lot to be happy for after firing a 2-under 70 in the first round of the tournament, enough to give him a four-stroke lead going into the final round today.
“It’s the way I feel. I’m just happy to be here,” McQueen said.
McQueen carded three birdies and one bogey in the round to get into red figures. After bogeying the par-4 fourth hole, he birdied Nos. 8, 11 and 15.
“I just putted real well today and I kept the ball in play,” McQueen said. “I just played steady golf.”
Knocky Thorndyke and Gerald Strickland are tied in second place after shooting 74 and James Oxendine is in fourth with a 75.
Behind a 35 on the back nine, Strickland was able to counter two early bogeys.
“I was having to hit 9-irons and 8-irons for my second shots, but luckily I did some good chipping and putting,” Strickland said. “Chipping and putting wise, it was just my day, and usually I don’t chip that well.”
Thorndyke also battled back from early bogeys as he double bogeyed the first hole, birdied the second and bogeyed the third to make the turn at 38. On the back nine, he bogeyed No. 10 and followed with a birdie on the par-5 11th to shoot even par.
Despite only playing at Pinecrest a few times a year, McQueen, whose home course is Scothurst Golf Course, said playing a variety of courses has provided him experience at adjusting to playing different courses.
“I’ve played all over North Carolina so you learn to adapt to a golf course,” McQueen said.
Keeping the mistakes to a minimum and keeping scores around par is the score that McQueen and Strickland are aiming for going into play today.
“If I can stay around par, I’ll be fine,” McQueen said.
Strickland added: “I’m well pleased with my game and hopefully I can shoot another 74 tomorrow and I’ll be well pleased with that.”
Five players — Ragfield Locklear, Michael Monroe, J.D. Revels, Jimmy Dail and Larry McNeill — are tied at 5 over.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.