May 23—HIGH POINT — Anthony Baker moved into position Saturday to claim his first HPGA Memorial championship.
Baker, a former winner of the Bud Kivett city championship but a three-time runner-up in the Memorial, shot 5-under-par 67 for a 1-shot lead over Curtis Brotherton and Jay Baity after the first round of the 36-hole event that concludes today at Blair Park.
Baker eagled No. 2, a par 5, made three straight birdies on holes 5-7 and birdied 18, another par 5. The only blemish was a bogey on No. 4, a par-3.
“I played OK,” Baker said in a text after leaving the course in a hurry to attend a birthday party. “I just didn’t make much on the greens.”
Baker said a key moment in his round was the rebound on 5 after the bogey on 4.
“I hit a good drive on 5, just short of the green and made birdie,” Baker said.
Bortherton, a two-time winner of the Memorial, made seven birdies but bogeyed 10, his first hole, and doubled-bogeyed 8, his next-to-last.
“Not bad,” Brotherton said. “I hit it fantastic but did not putt very well. I was missing my putts to the right for some reason. I wasn’t releasing the putter well. It was one of those things where the putter can come and go.
“I’ve been fighting a pull lately in my swing. That’s what happened on 8. I pulled it way left, pitched, hit the collar of the green and it went across the green. I hit it better than that, I thought. I’m still pleased with 68. I’m not unhappy but it could have been better.”
Baity also thought about shots that got away. He made six birdies but three-putted for bogey twice.
“Coulda, shoulda, woulda,” Baity said. “I hit it well but had trouble making putts. . .The golf course is in great shape. It was my fault that I didn’t absolutely light it up. … I turned a really, really good round into just a decent round.”
Stephen Mabry, Buck Hall and Marc Cox were another stroke back at 69. Bryan Colquitt, Chris Ledbetter, Chris Ingram and Dewayne Blakely tied for seventh at 1-under 71.
All tee times today are in the morning, starting at 8.
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