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Siddens Grabs Lead at Tourney of Champs with 63

Senior Kirk Siddens went on a birdie binge to fire a first round 63 and take a two shot lead in the first round of the UGA Tournament of Champions on the Gold Course at Soldier Hollow Saturday. He birdied half the holes including a turkey (in bowling parlance) on 16, 17, and 18.  Siddens started on the back nine and finished it with three straight birdies for a 31 and then shot 32 on the front nine.
As well as he played he is going to have to play a whole lot better to match his best of the year, a 60 at Rose Park in the Salt Lake City Senior Am just two weeks ago.
Surprisingly, his 63 didn’t separate him very far from the field nor assure him the title. Just two shots back is relatively unknown Jeff McDonald who shot 65, and lurking only three shots back at 66 are Jason Hargett and two-time State Am champion Jon Wright. Who would have thought you could shoot 66 and be trailing by three? Or at 68, and trailing by five such as Mike Jorgensen, Bill Probst, and Kai Ruiz.
An unusual twist to this year’s Tournament of Champions is the presence of three Seniors (50 and over), two Masters (40 and over), and one Mid-Am (25 and over) among the top seven scores, and yes, they are all playing the same set of tees, about 6,950 yards. Siddens, Jorgensen and Probst are all seniors (50 and over) and Wright and Hargett are Masters (40 and over) and McDonald is a Mid-Am. The only Young Gun on the leaderboard is Kai Ruiz.
In the Women’s Division Randi Stephens shot three under par 69 and holds a three-shot lead over former State Am champion Kelsey Chugg. Stephens started on the back nine and made birdies on 12, 14, and 16, and went all day without a bogey. Stephens is married to Greg Stephens, head professional at Victory Ranch.
The final round will be Sunday with Siddens, Hargett, and McDonald in the final group at 9:54. Right in front of them will be a trio of seniors, (Jorgensen, Probst, and Sampson.)
Leading Scores
63- Kirk Siddens
65- Jeff McDonald
66- Jason Hargett, Jon Wright
68- Mike Jorgensen, Bill Probst, Kai Ruiz
70- Brett Sampson, Jeff Jolley
71- Guy Child, Ryan Brimley, Jordan Rodgers
72- Jake Stevenson, Tom Burt, Justin Keiley
Leading Women’s Scores
69- Randi Stephens
72- Kelsey Chugg
78- Annette Gaiotti
Sunday Pairings
Number One Tee:
9:36- Jeff Jolley, Kai Ruiz, Jon Wright
9:45- Mike Jorgensen, Bill Probst,  Brett Sampson
9:54- Kirk Siddens, Jason Hargett, Jeff McDonald
8:33- Randi Stephens, Kelsey Chugg, Annette Gaiotti
Complete scores, scorecards, and tee times available at: