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Killeen Opens Utah Championship With 62 at Willow Creek

By Mike Sorensen

Deseret News

Published: Friday, July 29, 2011 12:03 a.m. MDT

SANDY — J.J. Killeen came into this week’s Utah Championship right on the line, in the precarious No. 25 spot on the Nationwide Tour money list.
The top 25 money winners on the Nationwide Tour will earn their PGA cards for next year, but with half the season still yet to be played, Killeen knows he’ll need some big paychecks to secure exempt status for next year.
The 29-year-old Killeen is off to a great start towards doing that after firing a sparkling 9-under-par 62 Thursday in the first round at Willow Creek Country Club.
Two shots behind Killeen are PGA Tour veteran Joel Edwards and Australian Scott Gardiner, who both shot 64. Another shot back at 65 is 29-year-old South Korean James Hahn, while eight golfers finished at 66.
Provo’s Chris Moody had the best score of the six Utah golfers in the event, as he finished with a 2-under-par 69.
Killeen’s 62 is the lowest first-round score since the Nationwide Tour first came to Utah in 1990, when it was known as the Ben Hogan Tour. He didn’t know where it came from, but says he has been playing consistent all season, making 12 of 13 cuts on the tour.
“I’m happy to get off to that start,” said Killeen, who failed to make the cut in three previous appearances at Willow Creek. “I’ve just been waiting for a week for it to come all together.”
A win this week would just about sew up his chances to make the top 25 because he has won just under $100,000 and the $99,000 first prize would put him near the $200,000 benchmark for earning exempt status.
Killeen birdied five of first eight holes before making only bogey of the day at No. 9 when he hit in a bunker and left his 10-foot par try on the lip. He came back to birdie the three par-5s on the back nine, 10, 12 and 17 and added birdie-2s at 15 and 18. For the day, Killeen birdied all five par-5s and three of the six par-3s and just two par-4s.
The 49-year-old Edwards has pocketed $4.2 million on the PGA Tour and is hoping to play on the Champions Tour next year. He had no bogeys, while putting a pair 32s on his card with birdies at 2, 3, 4, 10, 14, 16 and 17.
“I’m out here to compete,” he said. “I’m not exempt (on the Champions Tour). I have to play as good as I can, and when I get my shot next year we’ll see.”
Gardiner may have been motivated by an article on the PGA Tour website, which labeled him the “biggest disappointment” on the Nationwide Tour this year because he is ranked 80th on the money list after being 26th last year.
He played the back nine first in 3-under and then made birdies at 1 and 2 and an eagle at 3 and got to 8-under with a birdie at 7. However, he made his only bogey of the day at No. 8 to fall back to 7-under on the day.
The eight players at 66 include Kyle Reifers, who earned $144,000 for second place last week at Columbus, Ohio, because he was the low professional behind amateur Harris English.
Among the local golfers besides Moody, St. George’s Nick Killpack and Lehi’s Tony Finau both shot 71, West Jordan’s Luke Swilor shot 72 and Bountiful’s Pete Stone and Draper’s Matt Baird shot 75
NATIONWIDE NOTES: Oops, 2004 champion Brett Wetterich is not playing this week as reported in Thursday’s paper. He was on the original list to play earlier in the week and had his name on a prime parking space next to the clubhouse, but opted not to play this week. … Among other former champions, 2006 winner Craig Kanada and 2008 winner Brendan Todd both shot 2-over 73s. … Troy Kelly, the highest-ranked money-winner (No. 4) in the tournament this week, came in at even-par 71. … There were 10 eagles Thursday, including two by Jason Kokrak, who eagled No. 3 and No. 12. However he was only able to manage a 70. … Last year, a 65 by Chris Kirk was good enough for the first-round lead. … The field will be cut to the low 60 and ties after Friday’s round and is expected to come around 1-under par. … The tournament is being televised on the Golf Channel at 4:30 p.m.
First Round results
J.J. Killeen 31-31 — 62
Scott Gardiner 31-33 — 64
Joel Edwards 32-32 — 64
James Hahn 31-34 — 65
Paul Claxton 33-33 — 66
Alistair Presnell 32-34 — 66
Stephen Gangluff 33-33 — 66
David Lingmerth 31-35 — 66
Kyle Reifers 33-33 — 66
Nicholas Thompson 31-35 — 66
Cliff Kresge 34-32 — 66
John Kimbell 34-32 — 66
Roger Tambellini 35-32 — 67
Steven Alker 34-33 — 67
Edward Loar 35-32 — 67
Michael Sims 35-32 — 67
Jason Allred 33-34 — 67
Camilo Benedetti 36-31 — 67
Ken Duke 31-36 — 67
Steve Wheatcroft 35-32 — 67
Tim Wilkinson 32-35 — 67
Jay Williamson 35-32 — 67
Rob Oppenheim 34-33 — 67
Bud Cauley 32-35 — 67
John Chin 34-33 — 67
Rahil Gangjee 34-34 — 68
Jonas Blixt 32-36 — 68
Won Joon Lee 36-32 — 68
Travis Hampshire 34-34 — 68
Ted Purdy 34-34 — 68
Richard T. Lee 33-35 — 68
Dustin Garza 33-35 — 68
Brett Swedberg 34-34 — 68
Matt Davidson 32-36 — 68
Scott Brown 36-32 — 68
Brian Vranesh 35-33 — 68
Casey Wittenberg 35-33 — 68
Travis Bertoni 35-33 — 68
Andrew Buckle 34-34 — 68
Brad Elder 35-33 — 68
Bradley Iles 34-34 — 68
Bubba Dickerson 34-34 — 68
Peter Tomasulo 35-33 — 68
Bob May 34-34 — 68
Jeff Gove 34-34 — 68
Ted Oh 34-34 — 68
Luke List 32-36 — 68
Drew Kittleson 34-34 — 68
Brian Bateman 36-33 — 69
Brian Stuard 36-33 — 69
Martin Flores 31-38 — 69
Guy Boros 34-35 — 69
Charles Warren 33-36 — 69
Mark Anderson 35-34 — 69
Matthew Richardson 36-33 — 69
Matt Hendrix 31-38 — 69
Zack Sucher 36-33 — 69
Ryan Hietala 34-35 — 69
Andy Bare 33-36 — 69
David Branshaw 35-34 — 69
Shawn Jasper 35-34 — 69
Chris Moody 31-38 — 69
Jason Schultz 35-35 — 70
Matt Every 35-35 — 70
Darron Stiles 34-36 — 70
Vance Veazey 34-36 — 70
Doug LaBelle II 32-38 — 70
Gavin Coles 34-36 — 70
Mathias Gronberg 33-37 — 70
Justin Bolli 34-36 — 70
Carlos Franco 34-36 — 70
Clayton Rask 35-35 — 70
Jason Kokrak 34-36 — 70
Darren Angel 35-35 — 70
Brice Garnett 36-34 — 70
Ryan Yip 35-35 — 70
Craig Bowden 35-35 — 70
Danny Wax 35-35 — 70
Robert Damron 36-34 — 70
Dicky Pride 35-35 — 70
Seong Ho Lee 36-34 — 70
Aaron Goldberg 37-33 — 70
Chan Kim 33-37 — 70
Kevin Johnson 36-35 — 71
B.J. Staten 37-34 — 71
Omar Uresti 34-37 — 71
Jon Mills 35-36 — 71
Nick Killpack 35-36 — 71
Aaron Watkins 36-35 — 71
Chris Smith 35-36 — 71
Ron Whittaker 38-33 — 71
Troy Kelly 33-38 — 71
Danny Lee 34-37 — 71
Miguel Angel Carballo 36-35 — 71
Adam Bland 35-36 — 71
Gary Christian 35-36 — 71
Dan Woltman 35-36 — 71
Creighton Honeck 39-32 — 71
Christopher DeForest 35-36 — 71
Nick Taylor 34-37 — 71
Tony Finau 34-37 — 71
Peter Lonard 34-38 — 72
Nick Flanagan 38-34 — 72
James Nitties 34-38 — 72
Tommy Biershenk 38-34 — 72
Josh Geary 34-38 — 72
Daniel Chopra 33-39 — 72
Jeff Brehaut 35-37 — 72
Steve Dartnall 38-34 — 72
Tyrone Van Aswegen 36-36 — 72
Bob Heintz 36-36 — 72
Justin Peters 35-37 — 72
Luke Swilor 33-39 — 72
James Sacheck 37-35 — 72
Tom Scherrer 37-35 — 72
Richard H. Lee 34-38 — 72
Jerod Turner 38-34 — 72
Andrew Svoboda 36-36 — 72
Casey Crain 37-35 — 72
Todd Fischer 36-36 — 72
Dawie van der Walt 34-38 — 72
David Lutterus 36-36 — 72
Zachary Bixler 34-38 — 72
Charlie Beljan 37-35 — 72
Ryan Armour 35-38 — 73
Jin Park 35-38 — 73
Brendon Todd 33-40 — 73
Trevor Murphy 35-38 — 73
Jimmy Brandt 35-38 — 73
Brent Delahoussaye 36-37 — 73
Luke Hickmott 38-35 — 73
Chris Nallen 38-35 — 73
Adam Blyth 40-33 — 73
Craig Kanada 36-37 — 73
Elliot Gealy 35-38 — 73
Patrick Sheehan 35-38 — 73
Grant Leaver 33-40 — 73
Brad Adamonis 40-34 — 74
Geoffrey Sisk 38-36 — 74
John Inman 37-37 — 74
Scott Dunlap 36-38 — 74
Scott Weatherly 36-38 — 74
Adam Meyer 36-38 — 74
Brock Mackenzie 39-35 — 74
Jake Younan-Wise 37-38 — 75
Ty Tryon 36-39 — 75
Matt Baird 40-35 — 75
Pete Stone 35-40 — 75
Blake Parks 37-38 — 75
Josh Broadaway 38-38 — 76
Bryan DeCorso 37-39 — 76
Brian Smock 39-38 — 77
Rich Barcelo 39-38 — 77
Doug Barron 40-37 — 77
Colby Myers 38-39 — 77
Brett Waldman 38-41 — 79
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