This could be the week that Pat McGowan takes his name off one of professional golf's most notorious lists.
McGowan put himself in position to win a tournament for the first time in 13 years on the PGA Tour by shooting a bogey-free 65 Thursday to share the lead with Ted Schulz after the first round of the Kemper Open.As McGowan, a former BYU star, walked off the course, someone handed him a newspaper clipping that listed the players who have been on the tour the longest without a victory.
McGowan, tied with five others in second place on the list behind Bobby Wadkins (16 years), didn't need to be reminded. But he stuffed the article in his pocket and said he would use it over the weekend as a source of inspiration.
"This might be the week I finally win one," he said later. "I've been thinking that this just might be the lucky 13th year."
If recent Kemper Open history means anything, then McGowan could be right. Last year's Kemper winner, Tom Byrum, had never before won a tournament and Morris Hatalsky won his first PGA event in five years with an unlikely victory in 1988.
"It's going to take quite a few more birdies to win it," McGowan said. "I think I'll have to play aggressive and make a lot of birdies to have a chance."
McGowan birdied four holes on the front nine and had birdies on Nos. 13 and 16 on the TPC at Avenel course to finish at six under. He and Schulz entered today's round with a two-stroke lead over Jim Hallet, Denis Watson and Ian Baker-Finch.
McGowan used a 35-foot putt to birdie No. 13 and then escaped from the bunker to salvage a birdie on No. 16 and move into a tie atop the leader board.
Schulz had five birdies on the back nine and shot only one bogey. He finished the round by sinking 10-foot birdie putts on Nos. 17 and 18.
Now in his third year on the Tour, Schulz has been around long enough to know that a solid first round hardly guarantees a winner's check on Sunday afternoon. But it doesn't hurt, either.
"You don't win many tournaments from eight back on the first day," he said. "You can't win a tournament on the first day, but you can shoot yourself out of it."
Doug Tewell, who had a hole-in-one, was among eight players who were three strokes back. Tewell aced the par-3, 160-yard 11th hole with a 7 iron.
Hatalsky was among a group of 15 players who shot a 69 and Tom Kite was one of 14 players at 70.
Spain's Seve Ballesteros hit a sand wedge into a creek on the par-5, 479-yard 6th hole and ended with a double bogey that contributed heavily to his 73. He also had problems with the sand wedge on No. 14 and bogeyed the hole.