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Five players bunched within one shot at Rawls Classic

Between them, Will Aycock and Jason Staggs have won five Rawls Men's Golf Association championships, having logged more time than most players on the eight-year-old Rawls Course.

Posted: June 11, 2011 - 1:40am

Between them, Will Aycock and Jason Staggs have won five Rawls Men's Golf Association championships, having logged more time than most players on the eight-year-old Rawls Course. Houston resident Larry Seligmann is playing the Rawls Course for the first time this weekend, and Lance Wright's experience on the Tech layout is somewhere in between.

On Friday, though, drastic weather changes narrowed the advantage that course knowledge provides.

Aycock and Wright carded 1-over-par 73s, while Seligmann and Staggs joined Nathan Coulter in shooting 74s, making a crowded leaderboard after the first round of the Jerry Rawls Classic.

They all had to manage their games around wild weather changes: from hot and still in the beginning, to a blast of early wind, then a rain delay and, finally, pleasant and cool. But pleasant and cool described the scene for only the last few holes.

"The conditions were probably the most difficult I've played here in a long time," said Aycock, a two-time Rawls club champion. "It was tough."

Rain stopped play for about 45 minutes when the leaders were early on the back nine, but a wind that shifted from out of the northeast to out of the south was particularly confounding.

"I think the people that normally play this course didn't have an advantage like they normally would if it was blowing out of the south, because it (called for) totally different clubs and how the holes played," said Staggs, a three-time Rawls club champion. "It was a little different out there."

Wright, a former golf pro who manages Golf Headquarters, drove the ball well to help set up three front-nine birdies, but those were offset by two bogeys. Then he shot 38 on the back nine, but that was still good enough for a share of the lead.

"I'm kind of surprised at some of the scores," he said. "I thought there would have been a couple under par. I thought I should have been 71 at worst today. I'm a little surprised that 73's tied for the lead, honestly."

On the way to his 73, Aycock birdied No. 14 with a chip-in and No. 15 with a 9 iron to 15 feet. The onset of the late-afternoon storm hit him especially hard. With the wind whipping, he three-putted the 12th green for double bogey and then, after the weather delay, he went back out and bogeyed No. 13.

"I hit the ball all right; it was just 12 and 13 killed me," he said. "(No.) 12 was really a bad hole, but other than that, I played all right, played really well."

Staggs was within one shot of the top after making birdie on the par-5 18th.

"Conditions were tough, and the rain delay didn't help," he said. "It was probably 45 minutes and then getting back out there and trying to stretch out and play. I think the scores are kind of reflecting the conditions. Even though I didn't play that well, I'm happy to be where I am."

The leaders' being unable to go low left the weekend open to a wide range of possibilities with eight players within five shots. One of those is the 1989 Texas Amateur champion. The 51-year-old Seligmann played at Tech, but that was long before the Rawls Course opened.

"I've never played the course, so I was happy with the way I played; I just didn't know where to hit it," he said.

In addition to battling the same unpredictable conditions as everyone else in the top flight, Seligmann was coming off a Friday morning flight in from Scottsdale, Ariz., and little sleep.

"I'm happy with my golf game," he said, "but obviously coming here on four hours rest and not knowing the course wasn't an ideal situation."

THE JERRY RAWLS CLASSIC

at the Rawls Course

Par 72;

Friday's First Round

CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

Lance Wright 73

Will Aycock 73

Jason Staggs 74

Nathan Coulter 74

Larry Seligmann 74

Landon Waters 76

Greg Roberts 77

Bryan Buie 78

PRESIDENTS FLIGHT

Blake Ashcraft 78

Austin Jung 82

Randy Richardson 83

Kyle Beebe 83

Drew Winters 87

Matt Heasley 89

Josh Fairbanks 91

FIRST FLIGHT

Jon Gonzales 73

Josh Weast 74

Josh White 77

Jim Ferrell 78

Haffis Banire 80

Garry Copple 81

Chad Garlington 82

Chris Ryburn 82

Anthony Capwell 85

Rick Hancock 88

SECOND FLIGHT

Stan Roberts 77

Jeff Carter 79

Marty Faubus 82

Devan Adams 85

Steve Owen 86

T.J. Greenwood 90

THIRD FLIGHT

Jeff Reasoner 77

Kent Payne 81

Ron Hettler 85

Steve Bewley 87

Wade Davenport 88

Ken Beebe 89

Aaron Waldrip 90

Chuck Chapman 95

Mike Karon 95

SENIORS DIVISION

Net scores

(80 percent of handicap)

Dale Hayden 71

Chris Marston 71

Roy Holland 73

David Hallgarth 74

Mark Waldrip 75

Harold Flournoy 76

Charles Bentley 77

Gordon Davis 78

Dusty Thomas 78

Ronnie Hughes 79

Jerry Smith 80

Gerald Myers 87

TODAY'S TEE TIMES

SENIORS DIVISION

8 a.m.: Smith, Hughes, Myers. 8:10 a.m.: Thomas, Davis, Bentley. 8:20 a.m.: Waldrip, Flournoy, Hallgarth. 8:30 a.m.: Holland, Hayden, Marston.

CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

8:40 a.m.: Waters, Roberts, Buie, Coulter. 8:50 a.m.: Aycock, Staggs, Seligmann, Wright.

PRESIDENTS FLIGHT

9 a.m.: Fairbanks, Heasley, Jung, Winters. 9:10 a.m.: Richardson, Ky.Beebe, Ashcraft.

FIRST FLIGHT

9:20 a.m.: Garlington, Capwell, Hancock. 9:30 a.m.: Banire, Copple, Ryburn. 9:40 a.m.: Gonzales, Weast, White, Ferrell.

SECOND FLIGHT

9:50 a.m.: Greenwood, Owen, Adams. 10 a.m.: Roberts, Carter, Faubus.

THIRD FLIGHT

10:10 a.m.: Chapman, Karon, Waldrip. 10:20 a.m.: Ke.Beebe, Davenport, Bewley. 10:30 a.m.: Hettler, Payne, Reasoner.

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